Lesson from the butterfly

I remember so well how I wanted to speed up things when I was a child. I wanted to be a teenager and swap that Schwinn blue bicycle and bobby socks and Buster Brown shoes for Pink Parfait lipstick and nylon hosiery and French heels. If I’d only known what angst the teenage years would bring, I am certain I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry.

But even a teenager will eventually enter young adulthood…  Oh, to be twenty again—delirious with the new freedom from parental control but in the safety of a college environment. Good times.

The truth is, life is a forward motion of continual change.

butterfly cacoonMany times we are in a rush to start that new stage. Other times grief grips us in our loss, and we fight going into the unknown without the person we loved or the job we loved. To escape our anguish, we rush to rebound and find the familiar. However, instead of rushing from one ending to another beginning, we should look to the butterfly for a valuable lesson.

It takes four hours for the wings of a butterfly to dry after it emerges from its cocoon. The butterfly can’t go back and it can’t go forward. Instead, it has to hang there and wait for its wings to grow strong.

We, too, need that space in time where we have no outward movement. In that sacred space of transformation, we can discover what no longer serves us and gather the strength to reinvent ourselves. Each time we do this, we emerge ready to meet the possibilities of a wondrous future.

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly,” opines American writer Richard Bach. And in its miraculous rebirth, the butterfly has a wise lesson for all of us.