We have a lot to learn from Monarch butterflies.
Take for instance their “internal guidance system” that keeps them going upwards of 3,000 miles, from their summer breeding grounds in northeastern U.S. and Canada all the way to their “winter homes” in southwestern Mexico.
Or the fact they accomplish what they need to accomplish over a span of generations …
Yesterday after our noonday Eucharist, I learned from a parishioner, who breeds monarch butterflies on her property in Maine, that the monarch butterflies who will return to her in Maine next summer are not the same ones who will leave her this summer. As she explained (and I later read in a National Geographic article https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/monarch-butterfly-migration to learn more, because I found it all so fascinating!), it takes the collective work of 3 to 4 generations of monarch butterflies – “passing the baton” from one generation to the next, if you will – for their species to return from whence they came and keep their magnificent kind going.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this, especially in light of the times we find ourselves living in, and the collective work before us. Yesterday in the late afternoon, I met with the Sacred Ground group I’ve been co-facilitating, as we continue journeying alongside one another, learning the fuller truth of our country’s history and how we’ve arrived to where we are today, and holding space for difficult but respectful and transformative dialogue on race and racism. A common refrain from members of my group and other groups is “How is it possible that we never learned any of this?” or “I just didn’t know.”
Yesterday, one of our group’s participants voiced how the more we learn, the more overwhelming it all feels and seems: this work of healing and transforming our nation when it comes to race and racism.
And it made me think of monarch butterflies.
We cannot and will not accomplish this work in our one generation.
But … AND … we have our part to play, our leg of the journey to complete.
Each of us has something s/he can do.
Are you in, for our leg of the journey?
Will you fly, together with me?