Running With Butterflies


“When does it get easier? I thought. What are we going to do?”

By Chaunie Marie Brusie |

I slowed down as I approached the stop sign during my early morning run, contemplating the two paths diverging to each side. My choices stretched out before me: Turn right and keep running, adding an extra mile to my route? Or give up and head left, back home?

I’m tired, I reasoned.  I should just go home. The kids will be up by now.

I was tired—my husband’s beloved grandfather, an integral part of our family, had just passed away. We were physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted from the grueling funeral events. I had been overlooked, yet again, for a job that I desperately wanted. Attempting to carve out a new career as a freelance writer, I had faced nothing but rejection.

And we had just learned that my husband had been laid off from his teaching job, his third year in a row.

My shoulders sagged and my steps dragged as I contemplated turning left.

Yes, my legs taunted me, just turn home. 

Then, a faint voice inside me declared: No.

Run on.

Gentle Vision

Reluctantly, I turned to the right.  My pace slowed and my breath came in ragged gasps, my chest burning as I felt the waves of fatigue settling in. I looked down at the gravel, dark and damp from last night’s rain, the air heavily charged as another storm brewed in the distance.

Tears pricked my eyes. When does it get easier? I thought.  What are we going to do?

As I watched a tear fall to the ground, lost in the blur of my white running shoes, I suddenly jumped.

Arising from the place my tears had fallen—a butterfly.

The butterfly, black and adorned with splashes of brilliant orange and yellow, fastened itself intently to my side.

I watched in disbelief as the butterfly and I settled into a steady pace.  I held my head high, striding purposefully and lengthening my stride.  Breathing deeply, I felt the burning in my chest subside, replaced with a bubbling of hope, like an internal and energizing spring.


Joy filled me as the butterfly and I ran on.  I laughed as the butterfly darted in between my legs and circled my waist.

At my laughter, the butterfly paused and hovered next to me, as if contemplating whether its mission had been fulfilled. I shook my head and laughed again, dispelling the last lingering doubts. Satisfied, the butterfly set its wings in a final farewell and flew off.

I finished my run, but not before encountering two more identical butterflies, each of whom arrived at the precise moments that fatigue began to tempt.

When I reached home, I noticed that the buds on the flower bush by our driveway had opened overnight—the flowers we had initially mistaken for weeds when we had bought our house, prompting me to beg my husband to tear them out, the very flowers that shocked us in their vibrancy, with rich hues of dark orange and a deep, indigo-blue center.  How had I missed them before?

Tears pricked my eyes again.  Across the garden, a butterfly fluttered away.


About Chaunie:

Chaunie Brusie is a freelance writer, labor and delivery nurse, and advocate for young mothers. She hopes to empower other young women facing unplanned pregnancies to continue to live their dreams through resources and support. Chaunie walks the walk alongside of her husband Ben in Michigan, where they are raising two young daughters and awaiting the birth of a son in early July. Find her at