Monday, June 19, 2017

If I were a Butterfly

This post may end up sounding cliche, but I just can't help myself this time.

See, we bought a butterfly hatching kit and so, needless to say, I've had the life cycle of a butterfly on my mind. I've always known the story of the butterfly - ugly caterpillar, transformation, beauty, yadda, yadda,  yadda, but I've never actually seen it all first hand.

So we got a jar of dirt and caterpillars. You all know I'm not the biggest fan of creepy crawlies, but fortunately they are delivered in such a way that you don't have to touch them until they are safely in their chrysalises (which, in my day, was called a cocoon, but times change I suppose). The whole caterpillar-to-chrysalis part of the project was quick and a little dirty. They trudge around in the dirt and get fat. Within a week there was slimy silk all over the jar and about 1/4 of the fuzzy caterpillar bodies all over the ground (parts they do not need apparently).

Then we waited. And waited. Another week of nothing - I wasn't even sure they were alive honestly and was hoping not to disappoint the little ones. But then, one morning as I was pouring coffee and staring out the window I saw it - an honest-to-God butterfly was in our netted habitat! I ran outside whooping and hollering like a little kid, rousing the fam out of bed to come and see. There it was, dripping with yucky red meconium and wrinkled and unsure - but it was as butterfly. It was colorless and essentially motionless.

Suddenly all around it little wings started busting out of those chrysalises left and right. We'd watch as one after the other, they struggled, fought, kicked (and maybe screamed in their tiny butterfly voices) to be released from their little safe haven. They'd stand up, colorless and confused and, no matter where they hatched, they stumbled to the side netting and climbed up to dry out and figure out this new life.

Slowly, one-by-one, they would start to get color in their wings, they start to crawl, start to try to fly. We placed fruit and nectar in the cage and they found it and drank and got bigger and stronger. Soon they were fluttering and flying all around their little habitat until, with both anticipation and a little sadness, they were ready to be set free. And when we released them, at least one came back to tell us goodbye. To thank us and for us to thank them.

See, as cliche as it sounds, life is like that - cyclical, with hard times and dark times. Sometimes we have to leave things behind, even go into hiding so-to-speak, become something different. And sometimes being that something different doesn't look as good as it sounds at first. We have to dry out our wings, get some color back in us, and then we are ready to fly. And much like our little painted ladies, our life is short too, so we have to fly.

I was so excited the girls got to have this nature experience but I'm also excited I did. I may not be a butterfly, but I do thank you God for giving me wings!

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