How to name a puppy
Several years ago, Cathy had a vivid dream involving butterflies before we left for mission school in Africa and then moved to Honduras. Then she began seeing butterflies and butterfly symbols everywhere she went. It was happening so often that it seemed more than just a little prophetic and she began researching the history and symbology of butterflies. As you might expect the butterfly is a universally, age-old symbol of transformation.
Some transformations are sudden. Most are gradual. Romans 12:1-2 tells us “not to be conformed to the ways of the world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds”. In Mathew 17:1-13 we see Jesus suddenly transformed in the presence of Peter, James, and John on the mount of transfiguration before leading them into a crisis of faith in the valley below. Israelis call this peak Mt. Tabor or “A Megiddo “ (Above Megiddo). Megiddo is the valley of the final prophetic battle of Armageddon. We were more than amused to find ourselves surrounded by butterflies as we walked this sacred ground when we were blessed with a free ticket to Israel in 2019.
God shows up in so many poignant ways for us since we entered the mission field that only made sense that we would find ourselves surrounded by the most amazing butterflies in Cerro Azul when God uprooted us in January.
There is one variety here that only appears in pairs. They are small, pure white, and too fast to photograph as they dance in perfect unison forming a double helix as they ascend. They fascinate me. Ironically, I hadn’t seen any in several weeks when two of them suddenly appeared as I wrote about them here.
It occurred to me that maybe they were always there, and I had merely stopped seeing them.
We Christians can be rather impetuous in our expectation that God should always do a new thing. The end result can look a lot like ingratitude and even idolatry.
Cathy has always been just a tiny bit anti-dog. Don’t get me wrong, she loves dogs. Unfortunately, she’s allergic to shed animal hair. While we had dogs in Hawaii, they did not enter the house. Here in Honduras, she didn’t even want dogs in our yard. Then one day we went to buy eggs and carried a shedless short hair puppy home. If that weren’t enough this dog lives inside like a child. As of this writing, she’s even been sleeping in our bed.
Still, our dog did not have a name.
As might be expected we are the only gringos here. In fact, many in our village had never met one face to face. Suffice it to say we have a near-constant flow of people knocking at our door. Ten-year-old Carmen, one of the firsr girls we met was the first to come knocking that day.
¿Cuál es su nombre? What is her name? She asked. “She doesn’t have a name yet,” we said. “What should we name her?” “Mariposa” she replied without hesitation.
Mariposa means butterfly.
I have yet to meet a Honduran dog named “butterfly”.
It seemed like a no brainer to me. “That’s too long,” Cathy said.
“Dog names should only be two syllables.”
Thirty minutes later a family we’d never met came to sell papayas. The daughter looked to be about Carmen’s age. She freaked out with joy when she saw our new puppy. ¿Cuál es su nombre? She asked? She doesn’t have a name yet. What should we name her? The girl paused and said,
But Cathy was still bucking the name. Go figure. That’s when I posted “Name our dog” on Facebook.
We got well over one hundred excellent suggestions. Any of them would have worked in my book. But Cathy was still racking her brain. Hosanna, Java, Esperanza, Glory, all of them sounded so good.
“Help me, honey.” She said.
On Saturday we had our usual children’s ministry.
One sweet little girl named Alicia showed up early. Cathy had gone to retrieve a new girl and I was left to introduce our new puppy myself. Alicia was enthralled. ¿Cuál es su nombre? she asked. “Nunca.” “None” I began in my characteristically horrible Spanish. “Que nombre para mi perita?” What should I name her? I asked.
“Mariposa!” Alicia blurted.
Perhaps the prophetic people out there will see a deeper message in all this. There’s certainly no lack of prophetic words these days. I think God wants us to see the sacred within the moment, to pay attention, to remain grateful amidst the current and coming chaos, and embrace the miraculous within the mundane. I am certain more will be revealed provided we don’t allow the times to change who we are. Thankfully there’s nothing quite like children and a puppy to facilitate our transformative process of growing down in Honduras.
For now, it is a simple act of obedience when I declare,
Nuestra el nombre del perrita es
(Our dog’s name is Butterfly)