Several weeks ago a stranger showed up at our door. She was a friend of a friend and with her she brought a beautiful arrangement that contained some moss and a stick with a little cocoon attached. Someone had gifted it to her and she thought Layla might enjoy watching it as the new butterfly began to emerge. The first question I asked was “what do we do with it when it opens?”. I was imagining having a butterfly fluttering around our house, which sounds kinda cool until you think about it getting lost and meeting it’s demise somewhere on a dusty bookshelf. She assured me it should hang out on the branch for several hours until it’s wings dried, at which point we would take it outside and let it take off on its own. Okie dokie.
For two days we watched the cocoon get darker and darker until it was a beautiful black color. Gold flecks dotted the side and top. Finally, I turned around one morning to see a monarch butterfly staring back at me next to an empty cocoon shell. How miraculous it was to see God’s work face to face.
So many transformations have occurred in our lives over the past year.
- We went from being a “normal” family, to the one who’s kid has cancer (and subsequently lost that battle)
- I went from working full-time to being a full-time mom
- Our family unexpectedly grew by 1 (or at least will in March 2018)
- Bryan started a new job
- We said goodbye to Layla
- We gained, lost and deepened friendships
As we creep upon the holiday season, the void that Layla’s life has left seems to grow wider. I find myself seeing things in stores and thinking “oh! Layla would love that!” and even today spent several seconds thinking about what I was going to get her for Christmas before my brain caught up to my heart. Bryan and I both agree that we’re having trouble feeling “Christmasy” even a little bit. Our decorations have been up since November 3rd, but they’re more like icing on a cardboard cake – just for looks.
The one fact that helps me in those sad moments is thinking about the other amazing transformation that occurred over 2,000 years ago. A beautiful young woman named Mary gave birth to our Savior. Jesus Christ was transformed into a human body to save us all from our sins. It’s that transformation that gives us the assurance and peace of knowing we will see Layla again in heaven one day. We will inevitably struggle this year as we move through Christmas without her, but I know that focusing on Christ’s amazing transformation and the transformation it provided for Layla will bring us a deeper appreciation for what Christmas really means.