The Ginkgo Tree, Butterflies, Paris, and a Cup of Tea.

Sometimes, we need to go back in time and reflect. Reflect on successes and failures, laughter and tears, ups and downs, and all the gray matter in between. We were afforded that opportunity yesterday evening, and it was just what the doctor ordered.

Consider the modest Ginkgo Tree. It is the oldest surviving species of any tree known to exist. It’s botanical history spans more than 200 million years, making the Ginkgo a symbol of strength, hope and longevity. Yet, at closer observation, its distinctive fan-shaped leaves can provide the illusion that the Ginkgo is alive with thousands of butterflies. Butterflies are a symbol of rebirth and resurrection, despite their delicate and fragile structure. Can there be any more an enduring symbol of HOPE than the resplendent butterfly?

Over a cup of tea with special friends yesterday, we gifted ourselves with the time to reflect on personal growth. We all feel as vulnerable as the butterfly at times, but our resilience is as strong as the mighty Ginkgo. Change is inevitable, but like the caterpillar, change can be and is transforming in the most profound of ways, as long as we frame our thoughts in a positive direction.

Round Butterfly Ginkgo Box
by artist Michael Aram

Are we in charge of the direction of our life? Sometimes. Can we endure and stay strong, despite shattering circumstances? You know it. Are we ALL as fragile as the butterfly but as strong as the enduring Ginkgo? That is the conundrum.

We snapped this photo on Easter Sunday morning, 2016,
just before we celebrated mass inside Cathédrale NotreDame de Paris.
It was an experience that left a lasting mark on our souls.

Yesterday’s tragic fire in Paris struck me as the same phenomenon of shattering vulnerability and massive strength. It’s truly hard to fathom that something so massive and imposing can be brought to its knees in just a few hours.

Stay strong, friends, but be mindful of each other’s vulnerability.

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