Life of a Caterpillar, Hope of a Butterfly
This Easter, my children received 5 caterpillars and all the necessary bits and bobs needed to nurture them into butterflies. On arrival, the caterpillars were fairly lifeless looking little pellets, (as I would be if I’d just travelled by post in a dark box), and I was slightly worried they were dead.
We watched them eat and grow at an alarming rate, no longer little pellets but huge hairy caterpillars and I wondered if they had any idea that butterflyhood was around the corner? Living in their warm little container, shuffling round together and eating the whole day long, I wondered if they thought that this was IT, that this was life as they’d ever know it, that this is was good as it was gonna get?
One by one they started the transformation into chrysalis until all 5 were hanging upside-down. A week passed – and nothing – so in my glass-half-empty way, I suggested they might be dead. Again.
But just as we were about to give up on them, we got to watch the miracle of our once-pellets emerge as beautiful butterflies, finally fulfilling their purpose and preparing to start their new lives in the great outdoors.
I think many of us live as caterpillars most of the time, either reluctantly settling for life as it is, or just believing there must be a limit on what we’re capable of achieving. We have the fear of trying but not succeeding, or hoping and being left disappointed; aiming high but scoring low. And when things stall, and we find ourselves staring at the unhatched chrysalis, we give up, falsely believing our hopes and dreams have died.
I declared our caterpillars dead twice. TWICE. My children find this (thankfully) hilarious, with my 7-year-old wisely observing that waiting for butterflies actually involves patience and not assuming all is lost just because it seems like nothing is changing. Things don’t always happen at the time we’d like them to, but this isn’t a reason to quit or get despondent; it’s an opportunity to be still – those caterpillars didn’t become butterflies by rushing around and panicking, but by knowing when to stop, rest and wait.
I’m almost certainly convinced they weren’t born knowing they were butterflies in the making – and they must have been as surprised as me when they hatched (alive) to find that instead of furry backs and loads of feet weighing them down, they suddenly have wings and can take off, with the freedom to fly wherever they want.
Live as a caterpillar but always hope like a butterfly – and be prepared to wait sometimes.
@FreedomFromHarm | @RachelWelch