When a Butterfly Flies in Your Path: A Reflection on Happiness
I have a friend who very much enjoys other’s company. He is incredibly hospital and is always making sure that you feel at home. He will typically go up to people at events or programs that he is participating in or hosting and ask them “Are you happy?” He was telling me about the interesting responses he usually received. Many of which were watered down to “This is great event/program” or “I am having fun,” etc.
What would your response be if I asked you right now; “ARE YOU HAPPY?”
I presume you would have trepidation at that question as well. There are many good reasons for that! 1) You do not want to jinx yourself and make things worse. (Because you know we all are thinking that…) 2) You may also think, “How can I be happy in a world where there is so much suffering in the world?” 3) Maybe you think that if you say that you are happy, you are saying that you are content with where you are and what you have? OR 4) You truly are not happy…
When I reflect on this question I fall somewhere between 3 and 4, I do not say that I am happy because I have been made for more. As Augustine wrote, “You have made us for You, O God.”
Father Julián Carrón commented on this quote from Augustin, saying, “We have been made for a destiny that is so boundless, that we cannot reach it by our own strength, we cannot respond to the need of fullness that constitutes us.”
If I were to cut off Father Carrón’s quote right here, you would say that it is a cruel trick for God to make us this way. For God to make us insufficient to attain our own happiness. And it is true, there are few verdicts or punishments that would qualify as worse than that. But Father Carrón continues:
“This is why Christ came, because without Him we can do nothing, absolutely nothing, to respond to our thirst for happiness, for destiny.” Christ came so that we can attain the happiness that we were made for, so that we can satiate the thirst in our hearts for love by being in the presence of Jesus Christ, who fulfills our deepest desire.
The work we must undertake is sensitizing ourselves to His presence among us here and now. That is the journey to happiness, to be aware of God’s contemporaneous presence, to be aware of Christ who is with us always. Here is an example of what that looks like:
A colleague was telling me about her busy workload. And then reflecting on her week, she mentioned that just the day before, when she was speed walking to get one more thing done before the hourglass ran out, a butterfly flew right in front of her face.
A little startled, she stopped and watched the butterfly gracefully float in the air and gently land on the grass. Captivated by the butterfly softly flapping its wings, my colleague knew one thing, that Jesus was using that butterfly to remind her of Him.
What are the butterflies in your life that God is using to remind you of Jesus’s presence?
If you cannot think of one, what is causing you to run so fast that you miss the butterflies flying in front of your face?