Playing God

Day 22 of Operation Butterfly Hospice

I am not playing God, I say as I coax the monarch butterfly on my palm, easing it toward a cotton ball soaked with sugar water.  I’m just taking care of a butterfly that couldn’t/wouldn’t make it to Mexico. This is an amazing opportunity to study this creature up-close.

Ummm-hmmm. You’re interfering with nature, the natural order of things. You know that, don’t you?

It’s not like I’m seeding clouds or anything. I took in a butterfly that would not have made it otherwise.

You don’t know that, do you? 

No. I’m guessing. I wanted to do the humane thing and so I moved it out of harm’s way. It’s wings were ripped. It was cold and wet outside.

Survival of the fittest. I don’t think the butterfly had a ticket on Southwest Airlines. Cold and wet are probably part of the migration experience.

I get that. I do. Let me tell you something: Twice in the last month I’ve been on the expressway going 70 mph, and come upon the remains of a dog. This last time it was a German shepherd, I think, strewn all over the road.  It was beyond traumatic to see and very troubling to think that someone allowed a dog to get in the position where it was on the expressway. I wish someone would have helped that poor dog before it was too late.

OK. That’s not right. I’ll give you that. But we are talking about an insect here, not a dog.

Now who’s playing God? Why should one life hold more value?

So are you saying I should be happy we don’t also have a German shepherd living in our bathroom along with this precious insect?

I don’t know what I’m saying. All I know is it felt like the right thing to do. Maybe it’s gotten a little out of hand.

I’ll say out of hand. You blew out our electric heater keeping this insect warm and cozy.

I didn’t mean to fry our only second-floor heating source but that butterfly needed to be kept warm. Think of what a great learning experience this is for the kids. Circle of life and all.

Oh, we’ve got a regular three-ring circus here, that’s for sure. First, the praying mantis, then the big, hairy spider in the jar, now this. All this effort could go toward a job. Just sayin’.

I’m saving one of God’s creatures.

What if God wanted that creature to feed a bird preparing for the winter? What if God wanted that butterfly to die right there on the sidewalk as a reminder of the delicate line between life and death? Not every butterfly makes it to Mexico. But it’s not our place to decide. You put more care and concern into that butterfly than you do yourself. Save yourself.

By saving it, I save myself. I am not playing God. I am playing me.


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