– by Jurgen F. Haver (Husband of Judith)
It can take a lifetime for some of us learn one of its most important lessons.Â I was fortunate.Â I learned such a lesson by accident when I was ten.Â I was living in Detroit, Michigan.Â It was 1942.Â I walked those â€œ20â€ miles to school, I like to tell our grandchildren about.
Summer vacation was a couple of weeks away. Up until that day, my on-time attendance record at school was perfect.Â About a block from my house there was a vacant lot. (We still had vacant lots back thenâ€”places to play baseball and footballâ€”neighborhood gathering places for children.)
As I looked out across the lot I felt my heart leap. A leap so huge and emotion-shaking that I didnâ€™t feel its equal until the first time I fell in love.Â The entire field was filled with Monarch Butterflies.Â Hundreds of them.Â Maybe even thousands.
However many there were it was enough that the memory has stayed in my memory banks for a lifetime.Â I was transfixed.Â I sat on the sidewalk and watched them move across the empty lot in waves.Â I sat ever so still.Â Some landed a few inches from me.Â Others flew past me. Some circled my head.Â The expression â€œonce in a lifetime experienceâ€ is not even close to appropriate.
I heard the schoolâ€™s warning bell sounding in the distance.Â It meant I had ten minutes to get there.Â No problem.Â Easy trip. I could do it in half the time.Â The question wasâ€”did I wanted to leave â€œheavenâ€ to get there on time.
Now, this next part is kind of strange.Â Still, it is the part I am most proud to claim.Â It marvels me.Â Iâ€™ve tried to understand what grace befell me at 10 years old that allowed me to think the thoughts I thought.
I clearly remember thinking: If Iâ€™m late what can they do me?Â I also remember the answer.Â They will call my mother and make me stay after school.Â And, this is where a little bit of my â€œI like that kidâ€, comes in.
I remember asking myself, â€œCan you deal with the consequences?â€Â I answered, â€œSure, I can.â€Â So, I stayed and watched the Monarchs for another half hour.
When I got to school my teacher asked if I had an excuse.Â I knew better than to try to explain.Â Even at this young age I knew that those in authority never understood truthful explanations.Â So I said, â€œNo excuse, maâ€™am.â€
That answer moved me to the principalâ€™s office.Â She asked the same question and I gave the same answer.Â The principal called my mother and told her Iâ€™d have to stay after school.Â Also, she wanted my mother to come in so they could â€œdiscuss things.â€
Under most circumstances I would have been afraid.Â But, because of the Monarchs, I wasnâ€™t.Â As a punishment I was kept an hour after school.Â My mother came in at 4:00 p.m. to collect me.
The principal told her I had no excuse.Â Mother promised to get me started for school earlier.Â Then mother and I walked home together.Â She asked what had really happened.Â Moms always know!
I told her about the Monarchs and she said, â€œYou did the right thing, son.â€Â Itâ€™s hard to remember her words without a high level emotion.Â Butâ€”the lesson I learnedâ€”the lesson that has carried me through life isâ€”
THEY CANâ€™T DO ANYTHING TO YOU
IF YOU KNOW THE CONSEQUENCES
AND HAVE ALREADY ACCEPTED THEM.
THAT WAS POWERFUL KNOWLEDGE FORÂ A TEN-YEAR-OLD!