Headed out to my car the other day, past the sunflowers—those great, hulking eight-foot giants (I grossly underestimated their size last time I wrote about them)—and what did I see? A monarch butterfly fluttering on the breeze. But as I fumbled for my phone, the butterfly disappeared before I could get a photo of it. If this seems like déjà vu to you, I can understand why. I’ve written about this before. This is the third time I’ve seen one (or two in one case) in recent months and failed to get a photo. Always I’m on the verge of capturing it. But always it flits away before I’m ready—the little tease. I couldn’t help thinking, Okay, now it’s getting ridiculous. Three times and no photo.
Reminds me of the countless times I’ve driven down a parking lot aisle a half-second before someone behind me pulls out of an awesome space. Grrrr! I’m also reminded of Serendipity, the 2001 John Cusack/Kate Beckinsale movie, where a couple meet cute but keep missing each other years afterward.
There have been many just-missed-it moments in my life. I also wrote a post about a guy I crushed on in high school who came up to me on the last day of school, suddenly aware that I was alive. Gee, thanks, but I’m cleaning out my locker now and am about to go away forever. I’ve also been first runner-up for jobs. Those are the most frustrating of all, especially when I’m told, “You were our top choice until someone better came along.” Maybe that person didn’t use those exact words, but that was basically the gist. Or, there have been times when I had a free movie ticket, which could only be used after a first-run theatrical release has been out for two weeks. Only, I totally forgot I had the free ticket, which of course expired the day before I suddenly remembered I had a free ticket.
In order to keep my blood pressure steady, I need to believe that the things I just miss or almost get, but don’t, were not meant for me in the first place. This is not an unrealistic, denial-based attitude made purely out of wishful thinking. No, I’ve lived out this truth. Wanna know why I know this is true? Because there have been times when I was at the right place at the right time or was hired because I was the right person or at least had potential. There were times when someone I liked chose not to wait till the last minute but came at just the right time.
So monarch butterflies, go ahead and flit away while I fumble for a shot and miss. At least I had a glimpse of you as you flitted by. You helped me realize that some things were not meant to hold on to forever. Some opportunities need to flit by. But I won’t miss what’s truly meant for me to keep forever.
Movie ticket from yoursourceisopen.com. Monarch photo from Wikipedia.