And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:3-5 ESV
It was hot. It was muggy. It was Thursday evening, and I was on my way home from work. My favorite part of the drive is the slow turn into my neighborhood, leaving only a few hundred yards of roadside wildflowers and scented breezes between me and “home sweet”.
Suddenly I spotted a discarded paper drinks cup lying in the road as I drove. In the span of nanoseconds, my logical right brain and my spontaneous left brain (which apparently happens to be a supporter of the Go-Green movement) had a heated argument about the best action regarding the cup. Lefty won, so I pulled over, feeling grateful there were no other cars to witness this uncharacteristic environmental fervor. I bent down for the cup (and the lid and the straw– major bonus points), and straightened up ready to give myself a gold star for eco-citizenship.
Then just to the right of my headlight, I saw him.
One glorious monarch, resting on the underside of a flower in the scrubby bushes. I hesitated, then bent down for a closer look. He didn’t even flutter at my nearness. The sleek, black velvety body, studded with snow-white dots. Shimmering wing cells, iridescent tangerine, copper; edged in the same steely ebony. Wiry legs perfectly hinged and curved.
I was stunned, caught up in the simple, silent beauty of this creation. There I was, self-focused and feeling superior for my “act of environmental valor”, and God chose to shock and awe me with beauty. And I felt God in that moment, too– His eyes on me, His presence with me. We delighted in His butterfly together.
I almost missed that moment. I suppose the moral of that story, for me, is that I should “pull over” more often. Follow that nudge, that argument, that spontaneous opportunity. Because who knows when God is waiting there to meet me with awe, and beauty, and His very self?