Sunday, 11 March 2012

Metamorphosis

There's an oft-repeated story about a little boy and a butterfly, which goes thus-
Once a little boy playing outdoors, 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.
Then 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 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…
What the boy in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature'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.
The Butterfly NEEDED that struggle.
When I first heard this story, it didn't have an impact- a thumping to the mind or a jolt to the soul, nothing. It was a good story but I couldn't relate to it. But as they say, nothing in nature is ever lost- that every sound ever made, every word ever spoken, still exists somewhere in space and time, and may one day be recalled... This story came back to mind recently for reasons quite obvious.
For the past few days, I have been trying to find a direction, a definition to my life. I am afraid of the ignorance that surrounds me; petrified of being clueless. And yet I know, these are not necessarily the darkest moments of my life! Still, there is a deep struggle to “find me” and to “know me”. I guess, I am just hoping for a revelation.
As humans, we have too many transformations, too many stages of Metamorphosis. It's not a straight phase- caterpillar-cocoon-butterfly. Nah, there's so much more.. and as we change through time, we become our own doppelgangers. And in the end, something more beautiful than what we've started as. We begin crude and raw but then there's nothing in the caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly. And to be the butterfly, don't count the months to your struggle, count the moments. Feel the strength accumulate through the struggle. Amidst all this, does it come as a surprise that the ancient Greek word for "butterfly" is ψυχή (psȳchē), which primarily means "soul" or "mind"? Is that God's little secret whispering to us for eons through the nature?
Today, when I see a butterfly flying high, I smile because I know that as the butterfly flies strong and free... it is through the divine plan. And there's also a plan for me! 
Life is certainly about struggles and what becomes of us as we pass through each  of those struggles.
I believe God has placed in every one of us, the ability and then the opportunity to have a metamorphosis. Mine had just begun..

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