The overhead sun was heating up the concrete patio on which I sat. I waited, hoping another butterfly would land to take a sip from the pink and orange cone flower within range of my macro lens. A Fiery Skipper butterfly, not as colorful as previous winged guests, quickly landed. In this photo you can see his short clubbed antennae and the “elbow” in his proboscis (feeding tube) which allowed him greater flexibility in reaching the nectar he sought. Obviously different in size and characteristics from the Monarch and Gulf Fritillary butterflies I was photographing, he was interesting in his own way.
The same evening I viewed this shot on my computer I read words posted on Facebook by a long distance friend. She did not give specific details, but it was obvious she had been wounded by careless, hurtful words someone had spoken about her. Ever notice that when a comparison is made someone often up ends being “less than” in some way?
It is hard to not get caught up in the comparison game. Our culture and human nature encourage it. We frequently compare ourselves with others whether we just dwell on it in our mind or take the next step and speak the words.
As I heard the pain in her post, I pondered why we are so eager to instantly share with the world whatever comes to our mind. I am all for using the electronic media we have at our disposal. However, the danger can be that it allows us to speak before we really think and consider the damage we may do in a moment of intense feelings. You don’t have to take the time to address an envelope, find a stamp and wait for the postman to pick it up the next day. The cooling down period to think about what we are saying has been subtracted from the equation. We may be more electronically savvy than last year, but are we kinder too?
Another friend and I meet once a month for an uninterrupted, extended lunch at a local deli restaurant. It is a time of being honest about where we each are in our life struggles, disclosing practical things we are learning, laughing together, and even sometimes crying together. I always come away encouraged! Some months ago I heard the definition of a real friend . . . someone in whose mouth your name is safe. I like that! It means being valued because you are you.
So can we just skip the comparisons that cause pain and follow the wisdom of Ephesians 4:29?
Good News Translation (GNT)
29 Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.