05 June 2009

Butterfly Wings

A friend of mine told me recently about an amazing clip she had found on YouTube, showing a monarch caterpillar turning into a chrysalis. The really wierd and wonderful thing was that the caterpillar didn't spin a cocoon (as I had always supposed); it shed it's caterpillar self and revealed the chrysalis within!

I did some googling and found the clip... (watch this, it's quick)

Wow, amazing. The chrysalis was formed inside the caterpillar. And then the butterfly was formed inside the chrysalis.

There's a profound truth hidden here. Inside me is not just butterfly potential, but rather all the butterfly-ness is actually already there.

 The process of revealing my true butterfly-self is awkward, somewhat embarrassing, and looks downright painful.

At one point it seems like everything is stripped away and I have become unrecognisable to myself. I am left hanging by a thread, looking and feeling useless and hopeless: not a caterpillar, not a butterfly. This bit seems to go on for quite a while.

It seems like nothing is happening, like I have lost who I am. But inside me something deep and hidden is being formed. Something amazing and beautiful. Something that can only emerge after a struggle.

Because if you help a butterfly break out of the chrysalis and the butterfly doesn't struggle to emerge itself, her wings will never be strong enough to enable her to fly.

When I was seven years old I remember our class watching a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis; we all wanted to help it get out because it was struggling so much, but our teacher said, no, if you do that, it will never be able to fly.

It's the struggle that builds our strength. And then we get to fly. Then our true colours are revealed - the beauty that has been forming inside us, hidden from all eyes.

I have lately been reading a book called The Portal written by my counsellor (and one of our pastors) Jill Smith. Her life has been a struggle on many fronts. But here she is in her mid-50's, a stunning, mature, fascinating woman. She is secure, she is creative, she has fought off cancer and depression. Jill is connected with God in such a real and deep way that it stirs up a longing in me for the same. Jill is using her struggles to help others. She is truly beautiful inside and out.

By the time I get to my later years I want to be one of those women, like her, who have that inner radiance which makes wrinkles and grey hair seem like the ultimate fashion accessories. I don't want to be a sad, bitter, complaining victim, where hardship (life)has made me hard. I would hope to emerge from my struggles better, stronger and more gracious than I would ever have been if my life had run smoothly.

So I guess I embrace the struggles and let God do his work in me; ask for his help to learn what I need to learn; let the rough stuff take off my sharp edges (OK, easier said than done but, as with the butterfly, perseverance is the key)

Then hopefully one day I'll get to emerge as a Butterfly.

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Gail said...

Great post Simone. I loved Jill's book for all the same reasons... she really has emerged, as I am sure you are already well into the process of doing so! Beauty already radiates my friend!
God is AMAZING; His detail and precision is AWESOME.

Mozer said...

Wonderful post.

visiting from 100 club

Sophie said...


Gemz said...

lovely simone!!

cathy brunskill said...

oh simone you are already a butterfly. LOVE YOUR BLOGS Keep flapping those wings and fluttering around sharing your beauty with us.

Sweetpea4kids said...

Such a beautiful post.

Melinda said...

Love this, Simoney! I am in the process of "emerging" and it is downright painful! But I'm seeing God work in my painful circumstances.

I want him to change others, but He wants to change ME. When I allow that, it makes me stronger and I have a positive influence on the difficult people around me.

Growth is such an agonizing process, but I am so glad we have a God that loves us enough to not leave us in our immature state!

Great post! ;0)

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