A small and unseemly caterpillar was crawling along a leaf on a milkweed plant one day. He looked up long enough from his meal to see a honey bee gathering nectar from a nearby flower.
“When I grow up I want to be a honeybee,” he smiled (as much as a caterpillar can smile). “That way I can help make the honey to make the world a sweeter place.”
“Never happen,” buzzed the bee as he finished getting his nectar. The bee flew away.
A brightly colored oriole landed on the plant next to him. The caterpillar knew orioles liked to eat insects, so he hid until the bird flew away. As the oriole left he heard him sing a beautiful song.
“When I grow up I want to be a bird. They are beautiful colors and sing the loveliest songs.”
“Never happen,” chirped the bird, and it too, flew away.
Next he watched, as a cat tried to chase the bird. It wasn’t long before the cat was tired from its hunt and laid down to take a nap.
“Now that’s the life I want to live. I would love to take a nap whenever I wanted. Maybe I’d like to grow up to be a cat.”
The cat stopped his purring and opened one eye and looked at him. “Never happen.”
About that time a boy and his dog were playing fetch in a field close by. The boy was laughing and it looked like they were having fun.
“I would like to laugh and play all day in the sun, especially with someone who loves me. I would like to grow up and be a dog.”
About that time, the stick that the little boy threw landed next to the milkweed plant where he was sitting.
“Never happen,” barked the dog.
Before he knew it, the boy and his dog, the cat, the bird, and the bee all disappeared and a giant grizzly bear came into field where he was still munching his plant. Everything seemed to be afraid of the bear except for the unseemly caterpillar.
“Wow, is there anything more powerful and majestic than this giant bear? He’s so big, it would take a long time to grow, but I decided that this is what I want to be when I grow up. Then I would never be afraid of anything again.”
The bear came over and started eating some plants close by the caterpillar. His body became stiff with fear and a hard coating began to form around him. The bear walked away but through the chrysalis forming, protecting him, he heard him say; “Never happen.”
For the next ten days while he was in his protective shell, he could feel things were happening to him. He had recurring dreams of all the wonderful things he had seen. He thought about the animals and wondered which one he would turn out to be. Would he be like the bee, collecting the nectar from the plants to make honey? Would he be like the birds and fly around and make beautiful music and be lovely to behold? Would he be like the cat, sleeping in the field after chasing the birds? Would he be like the dog and frolic and play all day? Or would he be like the bear—majestic and powerful with no one who would be his enemy?
The dreams kept pursuing and tormenting him. How could he be everything he wanted to be? Did God have a plan to create something beautiful from his unseemly life before his transformation?
His early life was spent in self-gratification and wishful thinking. He had to go through a stage of darkness and molding when he had to give up on his own hopes and dreams and yield to the Creator’s hands. While going through the transformation where God was preparing the caterpillar for what He wanted him to be, he learned he had no control over his own life.
After he emerged on the other side of the chrysalis, he had become a beautiful butterfly. It wasn’t any of the animals he dreamed of wanting to be, but never-the-less, his life was everything he wanted.
Now, he spends his days drinking in the nectar of the beautiful flowers—just like the honeybee. He flies with the birds, although not making lovely music, but he looks every bit as beautiful. He frolics with the other butterflies throughout the gardens and rests whenever he wants, just like the playful cat and dog. And the bear? Has there ever been anything more beautiful and majestic than a butterfly? And enemies? He has none.
Even with all the attributes the Heavenly Creator gave to butterflies, they serve as reminders of His goodness to people everywhere. Things like new life, transformation, the resurrection of the spirit with all its beauty and grandeur, but in addition to all those things, when we see a butterfly, it brings a smile to our heart, and hope for the future.
Life cycles, we all have them, from the tiniest viruses to the largest animals. Even plants go through constant changes throughout their lifetime.
The Creator of the Universe, in his wisdom, knew if we started out as the adults of each of our species we wouldn’t be able to tolerate it. We all have to start out with a basic foundation, a veritable blueprint for our lives, and as we grow, we keep adding things to those blueprints, until we finally build the adults we eventually become.
Our lives, just like in the lives of butterflies, go through stages. I’ve heard it said that as we grow, our lives are like caterpillars. We come into the world as babies (tiny caterpillars) and grow into adulthood. Like caterpillars, we take what we can from the world around us, nutrients for our body as well as our soul. Everything we put into our hearts, minds, and bodies influences our final outcome. The closer we are to our Creator and allowing Him to mold us into what He wants us to be will help us to develop into best version of ourselves.
Then, as we become up in years, our lives slow down as we progress into our pupae stage. We become sedentary, but never-the-less we are still aware of our surroundings. During this time, God is preparing us for the ultimate change in our lives. As we emerge from our final chrysalis (the tomb), we become more glorious than we could ever imagine in our “caterpillar” life. We become as the beautiful butterflies, free and perfect without the weight and limitations of the world holding us down.
What are you feeding your body, mind, and spirit today? Are you making the best of the time in your current life cycle?
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
The Blank Page
As I introduce the creative part of this blog page, I want to suggest that we look at our own lives as a blank page or canvas. What are we going to do with it?
God said we are created in his image (Genesis 1:27). As a creation of God, he has given us the creative edge over all of his other species. While other animals respond instinctively to their surroundings, we have been given the ability to think and use our intellect. We interact in a different way to our environment. I love this!
There is something in us that feels the need to respond to what we see. We want to reproduce and reflect the beauty of this world. However, God has given each person a different skill set. Some are more talented in creating music, art, or writing. While others can’t do any of those things, or at least think they can’t.
Those who feel they are limited in the finer art skills, find ways to express their creativity by helping others, or discovering better ways of doing things. This is simply a different path of creation.
We are all a blank page waiting for the Master Creator to make us a beautiful work of art. How ready and willing are we in allowing Him to fill our page full of beautiful things?
As you begin your own journals and planners, consider this: There is no right or wrong way to begin. Just as God uses all shapes, sizes, colors, and different instruments in creating His work in us, we can also create beauty from anything in our environment. Look around you in your own world. Some have even repurposed common everyday junk! As you explore, you’ll be surprised at what you can find! Think on this; even in our low estate, God repurposed us into something fit for the Kingdom of Heaven!
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27
It begins with a dream….
This was a post I made several months ago for my ‘Jesus, Me, & Afternoon Tea’ Facebook page. I love the progression of uplifting verbs on this post. You must begin by having a DREAM. That is the very foundation that everything else builds on. Then you hope. HOPE is the fuel that makes dreams come true. Without hope, your dreams wither and die. Then you have to BELIEVE you have what it takes to give your dreams wings to fly. IMAGINE is the mind’s ability to look at the empty canvas of your life as you create your vision of what you believe your world should be. ASPIRE is the goals and structure you set for yourself. You have to have an aspiration to work towards. Aspiration is one of those things that gives us motivation to carry on through our lives.
One of the things I like about putting together a journal or planner (bullet planners are especially good for this) is that we can record our hopes and dreams and then formulate a plan to achieve those goals.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalms 90:12