Like the Princess, Liang was learning how to rebuild his life, meeting and studying with people of the outside world. The King was not part of it, although the group Liang learned with had material that tied in with the books and tapes the King had given the Princess. One night she went with Liang to see how they were rebuilding, and liked what they were doing. They dealt that night with the subject of transitional relationships.
One paragraph they read from their book struck her so much she wrote it down;
“Other relationships can help to rebuild, but a pitfall is investing too much emotional time and energy into the new relationship. Learn all you can, heal all you can, and stop holding the precious butterfly in your hands so tightly that it can’t fly and be free. The energy you spend holding on tightly to the other person and relationship keeps you from climbing your own mountain and completing your own healing”.
There had been no scripture for the King to use at Liang’s group, instead He given the Princess a sign. The Princess did not see the butterfly, instead she spoke to the King, making an assumption; “That was a useful book they were reading, especially tonight’s chapter ‘Growing Relationships help me rebuild’. You brought Liang in to help me rebuild.”
The King was patient and exercised grace with her, ignoring the sin of her presumption. He merely replied “That was your choice. Remember that butterflies need to fly.” Taking her hand, He said “Come with me, I want to show you something.” He brought her into a field of the Kingdom where a Monarch butterfly had recently emerged from its cocoon. It alighted onto His finger. “This little butterfly is going to fly 2,000 miles, to return to the tree of its Great-Great Grandparents” He said.
The Princess marvelled at this. “How is that possible?” she wondered.
“They do it in generations, like a relay” the King explained; “The first four generations make it in stages, doing their part. The fifth generation butterfly looks exactly like all other monarchs, but they are different. They have to complete the journey.” The Princess watched the butterfly as it fluttered around them. “How does the butterfly know it is the 5th generation?” she asked. The King replied “The migrating butterfly knows the time and season it is living in, and it is given signs – shorter days, changes in temperature, even the age of the milkweed plants.”
The Princess was amazed. It seemed an impossible journey for such a fragile creature. “How can it fly that far?” she asked. “Don’t underestimate it” the King replied; “It will put all of its energy into migrating, and it will find the wind. It will drink nectar and catch warm air currents that will allow it to soar as it goes, instead of having to use its wings.” The Princess asked “How does the butterfly know the tree to return to; when it has never been there?” The King smiled. “I created it to know.” She bowed to the King, “You have shown me a great and marvellous thing.”
One night as she was talking with Liang, he told her of how he centred much of his time around her, so that other things had ceased to be as important to him. She didn’t like it. Silver-tongue used to talk like that before he showed his true colours and turned nasty.
Her memory flashed back to the beginning of her ‘relationship’ with Silver-tongue, when he had cupped her face in his hands, looked at her with his heart in his eyes, and gently said “You are like a butterfly in a jar”. She did not know that Silver-tongue’s heart was wicked, and thought only that he wanted her to fly free.
Silver-tongue kept his true thoughts to himself, hiding his desire for control behind a mask of love, a mask that hid who he really was. For him love was a useful tool for manipulating vulnerable women. To hide his narcissism he disguised himself as Prince Charming. His silver mask was made of dross, while she wore rose tinted glasses. If only she had known he was a butterfly collector.
Silver-tongue only revealed the truth to her when they parted, ranting “I wanted to keep you in my jar.” To banish the stench of his memory, she sang a snatch of a popular song;
“And someone saved my life tonight sugar bear
You almost had your hooks in me didn’t you dear
You nearly had me roped and tied
Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You’re a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away, bye bye”
– Someone Saved My Life Tonight, by Elton John
“Butterflies are free to fly” she reiterated, running her hand against the frown on her forehead as if to wipe away the memory of Silver-tongue’s words. “I am not healed, am I?” she asked the King, her question a statement. The Princess retreated from her feelings to go back to the agreement she had made about Liang. He was aware that she needed a man who followed the King. she had made no bones about that. It was non-negotiable.
Liang said he had opened the door to the King, but the Princess did not see a change of heart, or observe very much interest from Liang in the King. When she had asked Liang “Where are you headed?” he replied “I do not know in what direction I am headed.” Frowning, she asked him; “Well, who leads you then?” Liang replied “No-one. I make the decisions for myself.” Then she asked him; “So, how do you now regard the King?” “I am being polite to him, while I am trying to make up my mind” he replied, still in the place where she had first found him, sitting on the fence.
It wasn’t what the Princess wanted to hear. She thought about Liang in the sanctuary of her lab room at the College, where she had a room with a view from the tower. Lifting her eyes from her work, she stared moodily out of her window across the town towards the hills of the Parapara. The hills provided a backdrop for Mt Ruapehu, an active volcano which crowned the horizon. To the people in the town Mt Ruapehu was simply called “the Mountain”.
“I lift mine eyes to the hills
From whence comes my help?” Psalm 121:1-2
The Princess realised her own mountain awaited her in her journey toward healing. Although Liang had helped, he could not heal her. She would have to leave him sitting on the fence, and keep climbing.
The path of life leads upward to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath. Proverbs 15:24
It was going to be an uphill battle. Would the path be higher and more rugged than the tracks she had tramped on Ruapehu, the mountain framed in her window?