Witnessing Unexpected Joy & Sorrow One October Morning

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Butterfly, taken at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in National City

One morning, as I prepared for another fine gardening day, I set aside a few minutes to spend meditating with the divine in my small backyard. During that time, I observed in silence all that was going on around me: the flowers and small trees I had just watered appeared so refreshed. The hummingbirds were feasting at our bird feeders, each enjoying a different feeder all to themselves. 


Then, two beautiful, small, yellow butterflies hovered over my blooming camote and bougainvillea flowers, frolicking under the Saturday morning sun. I watched them quietly, in awe and delight, when, out of nowhere, a bird swooped down from out of the branches, snatched up one of the butterflies, crunching it in its beak, and then flew away, leaving the second butterfly behind. The surviving butterfly must have been so confused, as its movements suddenly became very erratic before it too sped away. I felt so bad for both the butterfly who met its tragic end so unexpectedly, and the poor butterfly now experiencing the loss of its partner. Such joy and sorrow in a very short span of time.

A simple analogy for real life! Joy and sorrow happens in short fleeting moments. Life has lots of surprises for young and old. Life’s journeys differ with each person. The end of life comes surely for everyone but some have them sooner than expected, and some will survive longer. Nobody knows when our life or the life of our loved ones ends.

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14

So we might as well enjoy life to it’s fullest. Don’t reserve specific material stuff for special occasions. Treat everyday as a special occasion. Don’t put off enjoying life until retirement or when children are done with school or when you have the time or the money. We may not even live to reach retirement age, much less tomorrow.

In the words of the Mahatma Gandhi, "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."

Let’s live at peace with everyone, too. This way we have no regrets when the time comes.

When have you had the opportunity to witness unexpected joy or sorrow? We'd love to hear your story in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Butterfly, by Edward Saidro, 2020. Taken on the grounds of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in National City.

About the Author

A farmer's daughter, Dr. Luviminda Saidro was born and raised in a small barrio in Ifugao, Philippines. She became a physician through scholarships (Government and Missionary Scholarships). After graduation, she served with the Catholic Missionaries as a vicariate physician in Benguet and Ifugao then had a short stint working at Ifugao Provincial Hospital in the Philippines before moving to the USA to join her husband. She hurdled through the tedious US Medical Licensure Examinations and had Residency Training in Family Medicine. She currently works with the California Dept of Corrections. Married to an Episcopalian, she eventually became one herself. Dr. Saidro also finds joy in spending time with her wonderful friends and family, including her one and only son, who is also pursuing a career in nursing.