My two oldest daughters are terrified of moths. Last summer David and I regularly awoke in the middle of the night to shrieks and screams of terror coming from the top of the stairway. SURELY ONE OF THEM LOST AN EYE. Surely it was hanging out of the socket, swinging around, whapping and tapping their little ankles. Nope, just moths resting on their windows and walls. It lasted all season.
Just the other day our first moth arrived. I noticed him banging around a few days ago in the kitchen, and yesterday the girls finally took note. Truth be told David and I don’t enjoy moths either. They dive-bomb!? So unpredictable! What kind of animal just flails themselves around hoping to land on something that matters, something helpful? Moths do. And they’re dusty—at least ninety-five percent dust. Because whenever I catch one in a Kleenex and mash it up, only a dusty blob remains. So I get it, the fear is real.
This year instead of verbally and emotionally abusing them, I tried a different approach.
“You know what girls?”
“Whaaaaat?” They pitifully mumbled through big tears.
“I think the moths are sad.”
“Why are they sad, Mama?”
“Because they don’t feel as pretty as the butterflies.” Terror dissolved into tenderness. “Yeah, they know they don’t fly as gracefully and pretty as the butterflies. Wouldn’t you feel sad without those big, beautiful, bright wings? They don’t even get to fly from flower to flower outside, do they? No, they’re stuck inside, stuck to our walls and windows.” We all made sad faces but now it was because we empathized with the moth, not because it dive-bombed us.
Now moths aren’t so scary. They even touched one! We will see what happens later in the season, when one sneaks into their room at midnight. Please, Jesus. Please please please please.
The girls don’t know how closely I relate to the moths and all their moth-y characteristics. You see, not long ago dear ones, your mama felt a lot like a moth. I’ve been sober for twenty-two months now, but I remember feeling ugly, small, and stuck. I wondered why I couldn’t leave the house anymore. Would if they’d miss my dusty remnants?
They’re better off without me.
I remember constantly wrestling with the pain meds, stimulants, and sleeping pills doctors prescribed after the bone marrow transplant.
Why do I still feel all of this?
I probably looked a lot like a moth to those watching, achy and tired from all the hours and activity spent trying to find the Light.
When I drive through downtown Denver, or I climb up the steps of my church, I just see a lot of dirty and dusty (blessed) people. I see beautiful brokenness and I feel an achy hope for each and every soul still scrambling toward the Light of Love. Truthfully, we’re all wounded. We all dive-bomb again and again in hopes of landing on something Real, don’t we? What if we aren’t unattractive, lost, or scary? Maybe it doesn’t matter if we’re right or wrong or gay or blonde or educated? There’s no condemnation in Christ, remember? God doesn’t condemn your weight, your marital status, or how much you tithe. We’re all just holy clay, holy dust, breathing the Breath of a Creator who was courageous enough to reach out and touch us. You guys, God just sees butterflies.