My daughter, Megan, loved butterflies. Our neighbor, Alice, would plant flowers because Megan, at a young age, would stand out in the flower garden for hours catching butterflies and then letting them go. It was super sweet to watch a curly-headed, blonde girl with rosy cheeks delight in catching these brightly, colored winged butterflies as they flitted around pink and yellow marigolds. Megan would hold them for a while, studying the unique life, talk to them sweetly, and then let them fly off only to catch another one as it flits by.
Then one day, Megan was out with my husband, Sam, at Cottonmill (a nearby park and nature reserve) where the park attendant gave her a caterpillar. The park ranger put it lovingly in a jar with holes poked at the top and plenty of leaves and twigs. She told Megan that the caterpillar would shortly build a cocoon and then turn into a beautiful butterfly.
We waited and waited and waited and waited. The leaves died and dried up into an ugly brown, the cocoon morphed from brilliant green into an ugly brown. Everything within the jar turns dark and bleak and it seemed like the butterfly was never going to emerge. I walked by that jar daily in the middle of the living room wondering if it ever would turn in to a butterfly.
After a month and a half, I was frustrated at looking at the ugly jar of what I thought was dead ̶ and did I say right in the middle of my living room! I got to the point where I just couldn’t take it anymore. So, I said to Sam, “You know maybe that jar should ‘disappear’ tonight. We can throw it out and no one will be the wiser.” Of course, I wanted him to do the dirty deed. Of course, he didn’t.
So, I was seriously thinking about it, when low and behold the cocoon hatched and out came the most beautiful black, yellow and blue butterfly. We were all super excited to see it. I couldn’t believe my eyes and luck. Thank goodness I didn’t throw it out. My family got to witness the most amazing miracle of life of a beautiful butterfly emerging from what truly looked dead. It was an excellent lesson for us all – especially me.
So, I’m here to say things may seem ugly brown, dried up and even dead. At times, it is so hard not to give up on people, life and even yourself when times feel like they are at their bleakest and there is no hope of resolution, morning to come or a way to break out of the unhealthy lifestyle, bad relationship, or ugliness in your life. Take heart, hang in there, and keep faith in your friend, but most importantly in yourself. These things may take time. But one day, you will be that beautiful butterfly that breaks free from that ugly, dead-looking cocoon. Trust me, it may take time and a big heaping spoonful of patience, but it will happen. One day you’re going to fly, and you will be so glad you had the patience to hang in there and wait.
I am so glad I waited and didn’t do something drastic like throw away a beautiful butterfly. My family sure appreciated that, too.
P.S. After giving it some sugar water, we decided it was best to let it go free. Sometimes that can be the answer as well and it’s best to just let it go.