Have you ever had the feeling that certain chance occurrences or encounters with animals might mean something? Like they were delivering some message to you?
This happened to me today with butterflies. More specifically, white butterflies.
At least 5 of them ‘visited’ me today. I use this term ‘visit’ because for some strange reason, I felt like they were trying to tell me something.
The first 3 encounters happened when I was reading my book on a bench while waiting for my friend. These 3 either flew right across my face, or directly towards me and then past me. It flew so close that I could hear the beat of its wings.
Maybe its white butterfly season as I did not notice any other butterflies today. Or maybe my mind was just attuned towards spotting white butterflies today?
Then I googled and apparently the only species of white butterfly in New Zealand, Pieris rapae rapae, has greyish/black wing tips and one or two black spots depending on gender.
However all the butterflies I saw were completely white! Like snow white, white.
Maybe there is more than one species or maybe these have crossbred until they’re completely albino-ish.
Anyway, today is also the first time I’ve been back at Grey Lynn, Auckland city, since the funeral of a dear friend of mine, to maintain privacy, I shall refer to him as P from now.
After my lunch appointment, I decided to pay a visit to the best friend and elder of P, which I will refer to as M.
I was worried about M as I did not see him at the funeral and all my calls have not been picked up and recently the automated message says he’s not receiving any calls at that number.
The sudden departure of P must have hit him hard.
I bought some organic bananas and a packet of Tangerine, Rose and Grapefruit Tea from countdown and drove to his place. Many senior naturopaths have repeated taught me that rose is good for a grieving heart and this box of tea jumped out at me when I was just browsing the store.
3 persistent hard knocks on M’s door later, I left the bananas and tea in a plastic bag with a note. And just as I was leaving the place, I spotted the 4th butterfly.
This one was about 2 arms length away and was flying across my friend’s beautiful, well-kept gardens. There was something about the way this one was dancing about a feet above the flowers that made my subconscious mind think, “wow, beautiful … so peaceful and joyful”.
That scene is still etched quite deeply into my mind. Like a mental movie.
On hindsight, replaying that scene in my mind now, I am reminded of P (my deceased friend).
Maybe this was the message all along?
Maybe this was the message from P to let me know that he was in heaven and at peace?
At that point in time, I did not think too much about this. In my simple-mindedness, I was still wondering why there were so many white butterflies today. And even texted a friend to ask what encountering white butterflies might mean.
From a previous book she lent me, butterflies are often angels or they carry messages from angels.
Good ol’ google just confirmed my initial hypothesis of white butterflies.
So I was wondering what message these butterflies were trying to tell me today. Not quite getting any correlation yet.
But wait, that wasn’t the end of the messages. There’s more.
Old P might have still sensed that I had not realized the message was from him at that time or that I still hadn’t got his message.
As I drove back across the bridge to North Shore, I decided to fumble with the entertainment hub in the car. Something I haven’t touched in a long time because it is in Japanese.
2 button pushes later, I decided to turn up the volume to see what happened.
Lo and behold some pre-saved music started playing!
And it was funny how they were english christian songs! 😂
P used to be in the Samoan choir at the Grey Lynn church. At this time, I still wasn’t really thinking this was related to P.
I was stuck in a Jam for quite some time when the final message came.
By then, I was tired of listening to those christian songs and decided to play some music from my phone instead.
I ‘shuffled’ the songs.
This was the first song, titled, “When you have left” (roughly translated from chinese).
Although the context is about a breakup and the partner leaving, for some reason today all I could think about as I listened to this song was P and how he left us so suddenly.
Tears started welling up in my eyes.
It was a double-whammy when the next song that ‘shuffled’ up this one.
I got more emotional as I recalled how devoted P was to Mother Mary.
He has been in the Legion of Mary group at the Grey Lynn church for almost 30 years. Many of the eulogies at the funeral also mentioned his unwavering devotion to Mary. As such, this was definitely one of his favourite songs.
In fact, at his funeral, I think they specially hired someone to sing this song to send him away with as that dude that played the piano and sang it did so so beautifully, almost professionally.
By this time everything started to click – all those white butterflies flying at me or around me, trying to get my attention or deliver a message. And only on this day when I happened to be back in Grey Lynn where I had so many fond memories of our time together like the many times we had tea at M’s place.
Reaching home around 430pm, I decided the weather was too fine to waste staying indoors.
I just felt like taking a walk down to the nearest beach to walk off the vegetarian Dosa buffet I just had.
For some reason, instead of driving down to the beach which usually takes me 3 mins, I felt like walking the 20 minutes to the beach today.
20 minutes later and still playing those songs that reminded me of P and thinking about him, I spotted the beach.
Just then, I glanced across the road and spotted the 5th and final white butterfly!
This time the distance from me and the direction it was headed clearly gave me the impression of “departure or going away”.
Maybe that was the message? That he was fine, in a better place and “going away”. Like a last goodbye.
By now, it felt like the messages were delivered, the white butterflies had done their job, and that this concludes P’s message for me this day.
Reflecting back on this scene, it kinda feels like a proper closure after his sudden departure.
As I crossed a bridge, I stopped by to read a sign that I’d never seen before as this was the first time I’ve walked to Long Bay beach.
As I read it, I thought the name Inanga was pretty cool and also casually taught of how I’d never seen any in the rivers before. And also casually wondered how big a whitebait could be.
Then as I approached the beach, I gasped at the sheer numbers of seagulls in the distance. There must have been hundreds!
Many were diving down into the waters, apparently there seemed to be a school of fishes about a few hundred meters away from shore.
On the beach, there were still quite a few flying around us and many people had our phones out taking pictures of them snatching some kind of fish out of the waves. (see video below)
As I started walking down the length of Long Bay beach, a little girl and I happened to chance upon one of these fishes!
She immediately started trying to pick it up with her hands.
Apparently the waves had washed this one up ashore and I whipped out my phone to take a video 😄
I thought, “wow that’s really brave of her! Then again, I guess there is nothing to fear if you are as young and as innocent as her.”
Unfortunately (or fortunately!) the fish managed to wiggle and slap its way back into the waves which carried it back to sea in the blink of an eye.
A few paces later, I had the honor of chancing upon a fish of my own!
This time, with my phone on my right hand, I steeled myself to pick up the fish, as gently and as firmly as I could with my left hand.
I realized that this was the Inanga or whitebait fish that I had read about at that sign earlier! What a coincidence! 🍀✌
It felt slippery and cold to touch but ‘warm’ at the same time. Not temperature warm but kind of like the feeling of a warm smile or a warm heart.
As soon as I felt this, all preconceived notions of fear was erased. I couldn’t believe I was actually scared or frightened in the first place!
Anyway, after a video or two, I threw it back out to the sea as far as I could and prayed that it had a safe journey back.
I was stoked and started scanning the waves for the chance to ‘rescue’ another Inanga however I did not chance upon anymore. Not until I decided to stop looking so hard for them and decided to focus my attention on enjoying the beautiful scenery around me.
That was when I noticed some ‘flapping’ or flopping at my feet!
After videoing and releasing this second one, I came to realise the lesson to be learnt here from the Inanga.
In time, that which you are looking for will find you.
Often there is no need to try so hard.
I was reminded of how I have been feeling increasingly lonelier here in North Shore as I generally interact with lesser people than in the city when I lived in a house with 8 other flatmates and had a close-knit church community that I interacted with almost daily.
I have been expressing this in my prayers and just yesterday, the parish priest told me to come to the 40th anniversary of St. Francis church (the current church I attend). I wasn’t planning on going for this but for some reason when he said, “I’ll see you there John.” I felt like I had to go and so sacrifice an evening of watching movies or blogging to attend the meeting.
There, amidst all the oldies I made acquaintances with some youths – two Koreans and two Colombians. One of the Koreans is pretty active in the youth group and invited me to join it on Facebook. (I did not know there was one before this haha)
Well, there you have it. That’s all the divine interventions for today.
Here’s a compilation of the videos I took of my trip down to the beach today.
I must say that the timing was impeccable because on my walk back down the length of the beach, I could no longer spot anymore seagulls which meant that the school of Inanga had passed. All within a 30 minute window.
What a sweet and magical day filled with coincidences, messages and lessons.
Next time you’re out in nature and are blessed with some animal encounter, do think deeper to see if there is a message for you. If it happens more than once, its probably not a coincidence. 😉