Thursday, September 24, 2009

or does God want to surprise them?

This summer I bought a butterfly kit. It came with a "netted cage" and a certificate to mail in exchange for our butterfly "larvae" (that word alone gives me the heebie-jeebies...). I knew it was going to be tricky, this butterfly farm of ours, because you had to basically make yourself available for about 6 weeks straight. Our summer months were packed with big vacations, little vacations, girls camp, youth conference, you name it! But we did the best we could and loved our little butterfly experience. The larvae came, all nice and disgusting, in the jar you see above. The jar was already prepared with their food...we just had to check on them each day. The children would rush downstairs every morning to check on our worm-like friends. Over time, they grew and became charming caterpillars, slowly crawling around, getting fatter and fatter.
It almost seemed difficult for them to get around, first scooting one part of their body a millimeter of an inch, then the next part, then the next part.
But they kept moving and working, every day.

They were slow in their progress, but they were rarely still.

Then one day a couple had placed themselves underneath the lid, hanging down. We knew it wouldn't be long before they'd be making their cocoons, but we had (another) "vacation" and had to leave. By the time we got back, this is what we found (sorry the flash sort of ruined the picture):
two remaining, unopened chrysalis' and four very cramped butterflies!
Of course I panicked thinking,
"All summer we've waited and now I've killed them!"

We hurried outside and opened the container. At first, I thought the escaped butterflies had been in cramped quarters for so long that they wouldn't be able to fly. But after putting them on my finger (yes, I wore gloves...the stuff in that jar was gooey and STUNK!) and sort of encouraging them, they soon hopped onto a flower and drank (and drank and drank). That was especially cool... watching them drink like that. You could literally see their strength coming back to them and after about five minutes, they were like orange-winged Lazaruses! Back from the dead and off to do whatever butterflies do! We left the unopened cocoons, and within two days, all that was left was an empty shell of what they had once been.
Anyway, the next day the kids went to swimming lessons. While I waited for them in the car, I read my new book, "For Such a Time as This: Talks from the 2007 BYU Women's Conference". It just so happens that day I was reading an Ardeth Kapp talk in which she referred to an old Family Circle cartoon (remember that comic strip???). In it, one of the Family Circle children asked his mother,
"Do caterpillars know they are going to become butterflies,
or does God want to surprise them?"
I couldn't help but think about our little caterpillars, eating and working for weeks to prepare themselves for something better. They moved so slowly, and yet, the point is they kept on moving! I pondered the question myself: did they have an innate knowledge that something better, something much more grand and beautiful and free, was around the corner, or did they just work because that was what they knew they should be doing, the outcome a mystery to them? Why is it we always want the answers now? Why are we so impatient and untrusting? Why can't we just keep progressing forward, holding onto the hope, onto the promise, that the rewards will eventually be ours, and that they will be so worth it...that they will make us soar? We know we have divine potential. We know we have the promise to be more than we alone can make ourselves become--the Lord has told us that much. So why don't we cling to that promise and work harder to obtain it? We've got to keep moving, millimeter by millimeter, and even though our progress is slow, at least we're not standing still. We're moving in the right direction.

Just as I was getting ready to post this blog, I stumbled across another blog talking about the very same thing! I wanted to share her thoughts as well--(you can click on the words to see the blog. It's

How blessed we are to know our eternal potential and to know that we will become butterflies someday. Just as the butterfly has to be patient inside the chrysalis, enduring the slow, possibly painful changes, we can’t desire to have our wings with no trials and no perseverance. Maybe if the next time I’m tested by my circumstances, I can think that the pain is just my wings growing a bit more and I can have the patience to endure it.

Even though we have been blessed with the knowledge of the Lord’s plan, I don’t think we can really fathom the full magnitude of our potential partly because we need to learn it precept upon precept (and I have lots of precepts to go!), but also because God wants to surprise us.

Hope Sig1

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Hi Hope! We had a similar butterfly experience... we had a group babysitter set up at our house one night for a templwe trip and the chrysalis container got thrown, shaken, and who knows what else. I thought for sure we killed them. Butterflies emerged, physically challenges butterflies... but we were still excited. I loved your analogy!!

"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson