This week is Independence Day week. And, through the BBQ, yard games and visiting with family and friends, please remember and thank those who have served our country for our freedom.
Also, remember that no matter what you’re going through, there’s always hope. Take this family’s experience and how a simple sign, like a butterfly, can make all the difference:
by Maddie Merrifield
Early on that Independence Day morning nine years ago, I could already smell the grill being started in people’s backyards. Kids down the street were decorating their bikes for the parade. A neighbor was loading up his truck with folding chairs for our church picnic. That night there would be fireworks.
It should have been a happy time for my family, gathering to celebrate the wedding of my 22-year-old daughter, Karen, two days later. At the same time my 25-year-old daughter, Nancy, had been given a one-day pass so she could leave the psychiatric facility where she was being treated for depression and spend this afternoon with us. I pressed my fingers against my lips to keep from crying. Dear God, I wondered, how can I possibly get through all this?
I looked into the yard where my husband, Bob, was replacing a burned-out floodlight by the back door. As he removed the old bulb, the fixture wobbled and out fluttered a huge butterfly. Its wingspan must have been four inches. It rose in the air, circled the yard, and with a swoop, came to rest on our welcome mat on the back porch. “Bob,” I cried. “I just can’t believe it!”
My mind raced back to my grandfather’s funeral many years ago. That day our family had stood with arms around one another reminiscing outside the barbershop Grandpa had owned. All of a sudden a butterfly landed on the shop door. Grandmother gasped. “It’s a sign,” she said. Grandma explained that she and Grandpa had asked God to send a butterfly when one of them reached heaven safely.