My daughter has loved butterflies from the instant she saw one. I remember as a little girl, I would constantly chase them in our garden and didn't give up until I caught one. I would then sit on the ground and admire the inherent beauty and freedom of spirit within that little life form.
Wanting to create similar childhood memories for my daughter, years ago I planted a ginormous butterfly garden in our front yard. Within a short time, our flourishing garden attracted butterflies on a daily basis. My daughter and I delicately collected the eggs from the leaves of the passion vine, watched very hungry little caterpillars emerge and eat incessantly until the formation of cocoons and finally, stood in awe as beautiful, colourful new butterflies emerged. What a wondrous cycle of life. Not only did we make this a personal hobby but we actually would hatch the eggs and deliver hungry little caterpillars to preschool classrooms in our neighbourhood. It was such a joy to share our experience with other children.
One day, while navigating my way through a difficult situation, an otherwise oblivious family member sent me this story. While I normally delete chain mail, I read this one solely because of the title. (I know, I'm shallow). It has stuck with me ever since that day.
So now, I share with you "The Butterfly" :
A man found a cocoon for a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and could go no farther.
Then the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily.
But something was strange. The butterfly had a swollen body and shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and deformed wings. It was never able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand, was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the small opening of the cocoon are God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through all our life without any obstacles, that would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been.
Not only that, we could never fly.
*This post is inspired by the students of colour at Colby College in this challenging time. JAH Guide!
*Damian Marley, Stephen Marley & Capleton: It Was Written
*Burning Spear: I Stand Strong
*Bob Marley: So Much Things To Say (live)