A dear friend sent me a butterfly-festooned greeting card with the verse:
Let your true colors show
Change can be beautiful
Take yourself lightly
Look for the sweetness in life
Take time to smell the flowers
Catch a breeze
Treat yourself like a Monarch!
The writer in me immediately responded to the evocative word pictures, as the artist (that I wish were in me) rejoiced in the delicate drawings of the butterflies.
Let's examine the phrases one by one:
Let your true colors show. How many times do we try to hide who we are? Far too many for me. I often hide the part of myself that is vulnerable and sensitive.
Change can be beautiful. I tend to resist change. I like my comfort zone. Whether it be with friends or with situations, I stick to the familiar. And what do I miss as a result of that? An opportunity to make new friends? A chance to develop a new interest or talent? Yes, change can be beautiful.
Take yourself lightly. This directive puts me in mind of Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Hinckley always took the gospel seriously. But he poked gentle fun at himself and wasn't afraid to laugh, at himself, at the absurdities that find their way into our lives.
Look for the sweetness in life. Let's face it. Life can be downright hard sometimes as we face illness, financial setbacks, heartache, and the deaths of loved ones. I think of my sweet friend Jeannie Lancaster, who has faced more than her share of hardships. Despite this, she still manages to find the sweetness in life and share it with others.
Take time to smell the flowers. I like that the author of this verse didn't say "take time to smell the roses." Not only is that a cliche, it dismisses the rest of God's beautiful flowers. And if we expand the definition of flowers to all things beautiful, we find that we can "smell" beauty all around us. Don't you love the smell of a baby who's just had his hair shampooed? Or the scent of freshly mowed grass? Or the less pleasant but nonetheless sweet smell of a little boy who has just come in from playing outside?
Catch a breeze. These words remind me to run toward life and embrace it, catching a breeze on my way. What is a breeze? It can be a smile, a kind word, a glimpse of heaven such as an 80 year old man helping his wife down the stairs.
Be a Monarch. I think the author saved the best for last. The Monarch is a brilliant butterfly. Shouldn't we all try for brilliance in some form or other? Some of us won't be brilliant in our coloring, but perhaps we can be brilliant in our kindness or compassion. Look for your brilliance.
Joy for today: finding brilliance in ourselves.