In a remote rainforest in the far corner of Costa Rica lived two sisters. Raine and Miranda were twins and upon their birth, each had been given a net filled with butterflies. As they grew up their parents showed them the proper care for butterflies and impressed upon them that the nurture of these beautiful creatures was crucial to their own futures. The understanding was when Raine and Miranda turned ten they would become responsible for their own butterfly net.
Raine was honored, “Thank you, Father. I will do my best to ensure their safety and I will keep them by my side at all times. I will never turn my back on them for other things not worthy of my attention.”
Miranda was less than amused, “They are bugs. They mean nothing. Why would we sacrifice our own time nurturing these things that have no value? There are more interesting things that hold my attention.”
Raine began by naming her butterflies. She held each one carefully, studied it, decided how much it meant to her and chose a name perfect for just that one. She did this methodically until each one was named. As the swarm inside her net grew she was sure to continue connecting with each and every one.
Miranda took another approach and hung the net out of her site in a far dusty corner of her room. One by one the butterflies wiggled out through the holes in the net and fluttered away.
Raine worked tirelessly nurturing her swarm. She turned her back on some things that once took up her time. However, Miranda could not understand this and teased her sister relentlessly at times.
The difference in swarms became evident as the girls walked to school each morning. The large group of butterflies in Raine’s net created a lift when she needed it. Raine effortlessly hopped over mud puddles to keep her white school dress pristine. She was able to hop out of the way of poisonous snakes that were a part of the path. The butterflies would lift her a bit further than her hop could on its own when she came to a nasty brier patch.
Miranda’s butterflies were so small in number her net barely floated. Miranda’s walk to school became anxiety-ridden as she looked for slithering threats, sloshed through the mud and was scratched deeply by thorns along the same path that her sister walked unscathed.
Raine offered to teach Miranda the things she knew about holding onto her butterflies. In the days following, Miranda’s swarm would grow some but still very small in comparison to her sister’s billowy net. But it was enough to get by and Miranda was content with the small lift so she could get to school with only a little mud and a few scratches. But, Miranda would soon get distracted with what she considered more attractive things. Her old ways were comfortable and familiar and the care for the butterflies was too much sacrifice. And without constant nurturing and care, Miranda’s butterflies, once again, would slip away.
One day as Raine floated to school she saw Miranda standing on the lip of a smoking volcano. She called to her but Miranda didn’t respond. As Raine got closer she could see the scars on Miranda’s legs from the gnarls of her walk to school. Miranda’s once white school dress was stained with mud. Miranda lifted her head to see her sister floating above her.
“Miranda, what are you doing? You are going to fall. Back away from the edge. Please!”
Miranda watched her sister float directly over the mouth of the volcano. There was not an ounce of fear on Raine’s eyes. Her legs dangled and her toes pointed directly down into the hot lava but yet she was not scared. The net in her right hand was home to a huge brood of healthy, nurtured butterflies that could lift her above any evil. There was a trust in Raine’s life that Miranda never knew.
“I can’t take it anymore. I don’t know how to do what you do. I can’t float above it all. I fall face first and sink. I am dirty and broken. I have nothing.”
“Your focus has been set on the things that pull you into the muck. The things that cut you are always on your heels because your gaze is on things other than your butterflies. You can always grow your swarm. You don’t have to give up.”
Miranda wiped her eyes and shook her head, “It’s too hard to grow it. I should have just held onto it when I my net was full!”
Just then she lost her balance and teetered on the edge and lost her balance. He body heaved toward to molten lava.
Raine gasped and without a thought of the bubbling ooze below her feet she threw her full net toward her sister and yelled, “Miranda, catch!”
Miranda watched the net leave her sister’s hand and in the fraction of a second before the net reached her own she realized the impact of her sister’s sacrifice.
But then the sister’s eyes met as they floated together. Eye-to-eye.
“Raine, look at your dress, the butterflies, they are part of you.”
Raine looked down and saw something she had never expected. Her once plain white school dress was now exquisitely decorated with the world’s most brilliant butterflies…and they were keeping her afloat.
Raine now had both hands free to teach Miranda how to cultivate her own swarm and soon they both floated in butterfly dresses above the thorns and muck and were splendid examples of true sisterhood to the other girls in the forest.