Lessons to learn from butterflies struggling to fly - Catholic Courier
(Photo courtesy Ann Nelson)

(Photo courtesy Ann Nelson)

Lessons to learn from butterflies struggling to fly

Once Ed took our little family to the butterfly conservatory in Niagara Falls. Butterflies fly everywhere around you. It was a little overwhelming. Ed huddled us under our hoodie sweatshirts to protect us.

We could see the butterflies in their cocoons slowly, methodically gnawing their way out. We learned that if you helped them they would not build up their muscles for flight and they would die. They had to struggle to be able to fly.

The boys noticed that lots of blue butterflies landed on me and followed me around. They thought it was unusual.

After we exited, there was a wall with pictures of the types of butterflies in the conservatory and info about each. Under the picture of the blue butterfly it said, “Native to South America, Ecuador.” That is where I was born. Sean said, “Mom, the butterflies recognized you.”

That thought is very special to me, since butterflies seem to come now very often.

Butterflies came once in a swarm gently surrounding me like a halo but not touching me. I was standing on the sidewalk where Ed died. I was desperately crying out loud with my hands raised to the sky. I was begging God to help me understand why Ed had to go. As I quieted, the butterflies quieted also.

As I walked home from the place where Ed died, the butterflies followed me, dropping away as I kept walking.

As I reached the corner to turn up the last long street that led home, one butterfly gently landed on my shoulder and then flew away. I want to believe that it was a kiss from Ed.

This song reminds me of Ed and helps me remember that butterflies have to struggle to learn how to fly.


Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a heart attack on Aug 1, 2020. To learn more about Worldwide Marriage Encounter, visit www.wwme.org. The next in-person Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend is Nov. 20-22 at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua. Or try the new virtual multiweek experience. To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit https://catholiccourier.com/viewpoints/blogs/to-have-and-to-hold.

Copyright © 2024 Rochester Catholic Press Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Linking is encouraged, but republishing or redistributing, including by framing or similar means, without the publisher's prior written permission is prohibited.

You May Also Enjoy

Choose from news (Monday), leisure (Thursday) or worship (Saturday) — or get all three!

No, Thanks

Catholic Courier Newsletters