Of Jars, Fireflies and Enlightenment

When I was young I used to catch fireflies in jars.  I thought they were the most magical things ever, they were like little flying flashlights.  I’d grab some glass jars, ones my mother would never use again for food stuff(typically by the time I got them they had already been used as vases for wildflowers and such instead) and lids in preparation for the hunt.

When the time was just right id head out into the yard and start to capture them in my jars.  One bug per jar was my limit and before I caught another I had to secure the one I’d just caught in the jar by screwing the lid on tight.  I always imagined lighting up a room with jars of fireflies.  In no time I’d have my quota of the bugs flitting around securely in their respective jars.

Inevitably, as if by magic, my father would stop by to see the evening’s catch.  (It took me a while to figure out that if he stood at a certain angle at the window he could see when all my jars were filled and nearly on the table outside.  When I discovered that the magic seemed to slip away.)   And just as inevitable, after commenting on the number I had caught, my father would gently suggest that I release them to go on about their business.

I remember he told me once that all that flashing was their way of communicating to each other and he couldn’t think of a more sad way to die than to be trying to communicate with flashes that none of your own kind were around to see.  He also let me know that my glass jars were a prison for the innocent bugs who were suddenly serving an unjust  sentence for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Usually my father would help me unscrew each jar and set the fireflies free.  He told me that when they were free and flashing around everyone got to enjoy their beauty.

Relationships are sometimes like this, we try to posses or own someone rather than allowing their true beauty to shine rough freely.  I was reminded of this again today after hearing stories from young women who were free come a cult like group.  And like those fireflies, these young women are finding ways to communicate with others after being hidden away from the world.  I hope that these young women, just like the fireflies, make their way into freedoms do shine beautiful for a long time.

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