We’d been having problems. In particular, pond problems — and it was proving to be no small matter. An expert in the creating and maintaining of ponds came. His analysis of ours and a plan to fix it made our jaws drop. At a minimum, he estimated it would cost $26,000 — to solve the problem for perhaps (Ahem!) another 8-10 years. But, as he added, “No pond fix is permanent.”

What? There must be another way. 

So Bill got busy — researching, as he’s so adept at doing. After hours of perusing “pond solutions,” he discovered a product. It was far from inexpensive but a fraction of the cost compared to the professional’s alternative. Several days later, six heavy boxes arrived via UPS, and a plan was set in place. We had our strategy. Hope began to rise.

Perhaps I felt it most — that stirring in the heart that feels so much lighter than the weight of worry. Where Bill gets busy researching, I tend to brood — allowing anxiety to take over and gain control. O me of little faith. 

So back in June, as the pond drained more with each passing day — probably otters and other burrowing creatures causing the damage — my hope, too, grew shallow. Where would the kids swim? What about the gatherings that were already planned — namely our Vine family baptism? 

And just in time, I learned a lesson from the butterflies. 

As in summers past, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtails gathered along the pond’s edge —resting inches, sometimes feet from the water. They worried not that it was stagnant and receded — with more and more of the pond’s sandy bottom exposed. As always, they came. A Kaleidoscope of color, these butterflies congregated on the beach as they always had, year after year. 

They were “puddling,” which I learned was the term for this instinctive behavior of butterflies — gathering near the water’s edge to glean from the sand’s moisture the necessary salts and minerals deposited which aid in their growth and reproduction. 

To me, the place where the butterflies congregated — extending their proboscises (elongated mouthpart) into seemingly dry and barren sand — looked void of anything life-giving. But they knew better, those butterflies. Thus, by obeying their Creator-guided intuition, they always flew away full.

Bill and I used the pond-fix product, and our pond — we’re happy to announce — is filled to the brim, recycling fresh… for now.

Though we can’t know what tomorrow will bring, the lesson learned from the butterflies offers lasting hope and even a bit of exhortation — a gentle reminder to gather regularly with like-minded believers, to drink deeply from the One who is, and always will be, our Living Water.

And even if the place where we rest seems, at times, stagnant or barren, remember: There’s Life to be gleaned simply in the gathering — for our growth. Yes, for our good.

God will guide — and we, too, will fly away full.

Indeed, the water I give [them] will become in [them] a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14b — NIV).