Somewhere in the haze of girlhood I lost my sense of whimsy. All the symbols girls adore grew stale, cliché - no more doodled hearts and rainbows dancing in swirls across lined sheets of notebook paper. I stuck between the lines, wrote in Roman alphabet, and taught myself calligraphy instead of doodling.
It's what happens when your heart breaks too soon in life, I suppose. You give up on romance and turn to logic because it's ever so much safer. Predictable, calm, precise and controlled. Just like you wish your life and heart would be. Just like you've trained your emotions. Just like the iron fist you've wrapped around your tear ducts, the roiling in your belly that threatens to spill vomit whenever your thoughts drift away from math homework or history books and into the dark crevices of memory.
I didn't get romance back even for my wedding day. Joy, yes. My smile was wide and free, and I threw my arms around my new husband's neck with abandon. I let him carry me off to our honeymoon, but I wasn't going to write a poem about the sunset, even then. Babies were born, and I let myself be carried away to heaven and back simply on the indescribable scent of their hair. Still no romance.
It started to seep back in slowly, the romance of life.
A tiny pad of postcard sized watercolor paper and a single brush and two tubes of paint.
A space on the internet for a blog that started out simply to relay a few facts about cancer, but suddenly burgeoned with the overflow of the soul as the dam nearly broke in the wake of emotions that couldn't be contained any longer.
In the days that followed the surgery that changed my life forever, one symbol crept back in. Not a rainbow, a heart, or a peace sign. A butterfly. Your thyroid gland sits just below your voicebox, in the shape of a butterfly with wings outstreched, ready to take the next breeze heavenward. It is a thing of beauty, tucked in secret deep within your throat. A piece of poetry straight from the Maker to you, a little love gift right where songs are created by your own unique voice, right where you speak and whisper words of love, right where your laugh is formed.
When I lost my butterfly in the throat, the colorful creatures floating on the summer winds became precious to me. Whenever I see them, I smile and tears well, all in the same moment. I am remembering the beauty He gifted me with, the beauty that was taken away by thieves in childhood's night, and the beauty that was reborn out of cancer grief - the eyes that see again beauty everywhere, romance everywhere, the whimsy and lilt and lovesong of life. If I'd never lost my thyroid to cancer, I'd never have noticed the butterflies all around me. I'd never be a doodler or a dreamer again.
He has sent me to provide for those who grieve - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:1 & 3 exc.)