Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35

A few years ago, a friend of mine planted a butterfly garden at the school where I teach. I ate lunch there today. I ate lunch there yesterday, too.

It’s a lovely place, a refuge from the busy life of a middle school and from the anxious talk about the recent budget cuts from the state. I counted six monarch caterpillars munching on milkweed leaves today. I saw dragonflies flitting in the shade of flowery bushes, wasps eating aphids that would harm the milkweed plants without the wasps’ help, and one lovely monarch butterfly that hovered and landed on bush after bush. I assume it was laying eggs. I hope so.

In more than one place in Scripture, it is said that Jesus would go off to solitary places to pray after spending time with the crowds. On days like today, I understand why. It is in places of such beauty and peace as the butterfly garden that we can recover the beauty and peace of our own souls.

I read recently that “health” can be defined as complete trust in God. If so, then I am recovering my health in the garden, too. When I watch the caterpillars become chrysalises, I am reminded that God cares for me, just as he does for these tiny creatures. And when the chrysalis breaks open and a butterfly emerges, I know in my heart that what Jesus said is true: Death is not victorious. We will rise again! There is a heaven, and Jesus will come for us just as He promised, so that we may be with Him where He is.

Thank you, Joel, for the gift to our school of the butterfly garden.

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