Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Yellow Butterfly, Wrightsville Beach, NC
White Feather, Wrightsville Beach, NC

A number of years ago our family happened to be at a Carolina beach over Easter weekend. We had attended a number of sunrise Easter services in Kansas and we were looking forward to experiencing a resurrection service next to the vast ocean waters with the waves breaking onto the shoreline. As the light brightened over the ocean’s horizon, we did indeed experience a very spiritual remembrance of the risen Christ’s victory over death and the promise and hope for all mankind. Waves have symbolized renewal and life giving water throughout time.

Since that time, we’ve all enjoyed a meditative walk on the Carolina beaches at sunrise on a number of escapes from the madding crowds. A stroll along the beach at sunrise can be a very personal and spiritual time as a new creation unfolds for yet another day on planet earth. We were fortunate to have another beach trip this past Labor Day week with myself and my grown daughter and son-in-law. My wife of forty years certainly was with us in spirit, as she lost her struggle with breast cancer five years ago. The three of us were at her bedside when she was welcomed into the presence of our Heavenly Father.

The gardens around our beach home for the week were alive with very vibrant yellow butterflies this year. They flitted and darted in the cool breezes off the ocean waters among the brightly blooming tropical flowers. We photographed the gardens and rose every morning before sunrise to greet the new day and photograph the colorful sunrise over the sandy beach. And every sunrise is as unique as a snowflake or the shells that are left on the shore by the receding nighttime tide waters. All four of us had walked together on this particular beach and it brought back those kind of good memories that sustain you after you lose a loved one. As I walked the beach one morning, I was struck by the anomaly of a pure white feather lying among one of the many shell beds left exposed that day. Native Americans believed that departed souls manifested in the form of beautiful butterflies and visited their relatives to assure them that all is well. Feathers, especially white ones, symbolize purity, peace and love. They represent a sacred universal symbol of flight within the spirit world and serve as messengers of the Great Spirit. The ancients believed that they also convey a message that all is well on the other side.

It’s very understandable that butterflies and white feathers have come to symbolize spirit messengers over the centuries. Whether or not they are personified messengers in this mortal life will remain a mystery. But I do know that they both represent a beautiful reminder of those we hold close in our hearts and their presence does rekindle warm memories. Memories of long walks on the beach as the waves relentlessly break onto the sandy shore and the colorful light of a new creation assure us that God is present and He has those who go before us in the loving palm of his hand.

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