There is something I must tell you about myself, which has always made me feel ashamed.
When I was very young, I found a luna moth resting on our front porch, just as beautiful as the one above.
I wanted so badly to have it, so I went into the house for a piece of paper and tape. I cut the blue paper into a wide strip, and I cut the tape to fit. Stepping back onto the porch, I quietly captured the moth by covering it with the tape and attaching it to the paper and making (in my mind) a "bookmark".
I remember watching the moth move slightly, trapped, and I remember the dust from its wings sticking to the tape, their pattern marred. It was mine now, that luna moth, but it felt like something I should hide, and I knew I had done something wrong. I had taken something that was not mine to take, and I had been unkind.
I am so sorry that I killed that moth and I am still swept with sadness and regret when I think of it. I learned later that luna moths live for seven days, but that is hardly consoling. Perhaps the memory of this is a subconscious reason I photograph now: to have the beauty I see without harming it.
I am sitting here thinking, and I just don't know of a tidy way to tie this up with a nice lesson learned. I cannot bring my bookmark moth back to life to fulfill its seven allotted days, and I cannot promise to "do no harm" as I continue on my way, no matter how deep my intention. I'm not just talking about moths here.
All I know to do is to move forward with this prayer-- Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!--and trust with my feeble mustard seed heart that it is enough. He has shown me mercy, he is showing me mercy, he will show me mercy. Mercy for the life of the moth I took when I was a freckled little girl, mercy for all the dark things that I have thought and said and done since then. Mercy for my despair and depression, anxiety and distraction, sloth and utter brokenness.
He shows mercy for all of it, to all of us, and also He gives a gift: participation in His life:
Thanks be to God.