Meet "Indomitable" -- my incredible butterfly...
For a few days, Houston did actually have a winter this year. It was 20 degrees for like 24 hours or so. Before our "big freeze" I gathered all of my Monarch caterpillars that were overwintering on what was left of my Milkweed plants, and put them in netting cages and brought them inside so they could make their chrysalis and be safe, snug, and warm until Spring.
But a few days after our "deep freeze" I went out to cut down my dead, thawing, mushy milkweed and found one lone caterpillar ravenously chewing on those mushy milkweed stems. I couldn't believe he actually survived those two freezing days...let alone all the days before that where there were no leaves on my Milkweed.
It was a miracle of sorts.
I don't know how that little guy survived all that.
Freezing, no food, no nothing.
But there he was.
So I named him indomitable. He reminded me of my Brandon. In how against all odds, he manages to survive all these seizures. He reminds me of all the warrior moms I know, who manage to survive the unsurvivable.
I sent Todd on a "Hail Mary" mission to our local nursery to see if they by some miracle had some milkweed plants. They had two in their greenhouse that managed to survive.
Indomitable was able to quench his hunger and enjoy a few warm days. His life reminded me so much of mine....those many moments of hardship with but a precious few moments to simply bask in the sunshine.
I tried to watch him closely, but life with vaccine injury diverted my attention for a few days and in yet another bizarre cold snap I found Indomitable somewhat stuck in the "J" formation they go in as they prepare to form their chrysalis. Cold temperature can mess that up, and I thought for sure he was dead. He was in that same position for far too long.
But then he once again lived up to his name.
I went out one morning sure to find him withered and dead, and instead found him in chrysalis. It wasn't the smooth chrysalis of those who have had an easy life, it was the wrinkled and weathered chrysalis that those mothers like me know all too well. It was the chrysalis of a warrior and I had to smile at that.
I wondered if he would survive, if he would indeed eclose and live to tell about it.
And once again, he lived up to his name.
On one of the worse days I have had as a warrior mom, I went out to my garden in tears over the series of unfortunate events I had to deal with that day. I had a trifecta of a mental breakdown, temper tantrum, and pity party.
I was in a pit with a lion on a snowy day and didn't think I had the strength to even attempt to fight the lion much less crawl my way out of the pit.
And then I saw Indomitable.
He must have very recently eclosed and was resting on a flowering weed while his wings continued to dry.
I could tell he was a bit torn and tattered from his journey... How could he not be? He nearly froze to death, starved to death, then nearly froze again while trying to form a chrysalis.
But there he was.
Tears began streaming once again as yet again I have found such inspiration from my gardens. From these butterflies I try to help raise and release. So many come and go with no issues. But those few like Indomitable, they have come into my garden at such a time when I need to see God's promises and not just know them.
Indomitable resides in the safety of my butterfly habit sipping nectar in safety. I'm not sure he'll ever fly freely, but he will be cared for deeply.
I don't think I can ever say I've felt God speak to me with a word or some insight. But I can say that without a doubt, He has sent a few precious butterflies to my garden at a time when I needed HOPEISM most, and they have spoken to me ever so clearly.
And today that butterfly taught me that being indomitable isn't about strength, perfection, or winning.
It's about never giving up.