I discovered my grandson Sam has the spirit of a caterpillar. Just as a caterpillar is transformed into a beautiful butterfly, little Sam is on his journey toward being transformed into a mighty man.
It’s an amazing process to witness, impossible to understand, and endlessly fascinating. I find myself hoping Sam might have an easy time finding his wings. But all indications are Mother Nature requires all her children to endure much to earn their wings.
It hurts to become a butterfly.
And I imagine for Sam it will be no different.
- Growing will be painful
- Growing will be humbling
- Growing will be frustrating
Most of all, growing will take whole bunches of perseverance and better that I give him the essential love and protection he needs without shielding him from the important lessons ahead.
Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.
The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.
One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.
The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.
At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!
The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!
As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.
But neither happened!
The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.
It never was able to fly…
As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.
Sam, I’m reminded, over the many stages of growth throughout my life, how difficult it has been for me to find my wings: how painful, how on so many occasions I thought I’d never be able to fly. Then, each time I needed to grow and change, somehow, in the nick of time things came together and I found my wings.
I don’t know how your own journey will go, but this I do know: if you are nurtured and loved, and also given the chance to struggle and sometimes fail, in the end, each time you need to grow and change, you too will fly like a butterfly.
Just a thought…
Copyright © 2018 Patrick J. Moriarty. All Rights Reserved.
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