I have become nearly obsessed with butterflies since my husband left. I didn’t think I was “into” them before, but I’ve noticed that quite a few of my household items have butterflies on them. So, I must have had some sort of an affinity for them pre-separation.
We rent an old house on a very dry, forested hill. The dirt is dead. You can’t grow anything. I’ve noticed absolute silence even in the mornings; there aren’t any birds singing. However, this past summer there was a profusion of butterflies at the base of our long, dirt driveway. Every time I pulled in the drive dozens and dozens of butterflies would flitter up, seemingly from nowhere, in front of my car. I loved coming home to this run down place and couldn’t wait for that flush of colorful wings to greet me.
I recall a friend from my teen years always wrote a particular poem on her Pee Chee and on notes to me. I have no idea where it came from, where she found it. It meant a lot to her though, and she shared it with me every chance she could. It read, “Do you suppose a caterpillar knows his future lies in butterflies?” As I’ve thought about Claudette’s favorite poem and pondered my driveway butterflies, it has almost seemed like some sort of illustrative lesson from God.
Today, God explained the lesson.
After my husband left and I could not afford the state mandatory testing for home schoolers, I enrolled my children in a public charter school. I still home school my children, but the school sends a teacher to the house for an hour once a week. While that sounded awful at first, especially to someone who had independently been homeschooling for 22 years, it has really been a blessing. The kids and I love both of the teachers who visit us.
Well, today was visitation day, and my first grader was proudly showing our visitor his week’s work. The young man asked my son what those things were at the top of his language arts work page. My son answered, “Butterflies.” The teacher then asked my son a series of questions about butterflies. Did he know what they were before they were butterflies. Did he know what that thing was called that the caterpillars wrap themselves in. And then the clincher question…..did he know why it is a bad thing to help a butterfly struggling to get out of its cocoon. My son curiously shook his head no, and the teacher explained that the butterfly needs to struggle to escape in order to strengthen its wings, or it will never be strong enough to fly and be free.
Suddenly, I was the butterfly. I am struggling. I recently wrote a post titled Struggling. I’m sure you all heard my desperation in yesterday’s words. I am struggling so hard to escape and it feels futile. I just want someone to come along and make this easier for me, but no one is releasing me.
It occurred to me this morning that maybe this struggle to escape is strengthening me and is necessary for me to be strong enough to fly and be free one day.