A Change For The Better

What do you think of when you hear the term metamorphosis? My mind immediately goes to the change that a moth undergoes to become a butterfly although Webster’s defines it merely as a change in shape or form.

One summer years ago we did a VBS program that had a song about the butterfly. It said, “The butterfly will lay some eggs, out comes a caterpillar. She eat some leaves then eats some more. It takes a lot to fill her.” Finally she makes a chrysalis or a cocoon and in just a short time out comes a butterfly. This is a rather simplified account but it says what needs to be said.

The process of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly is one of life’s biggest mysteries as well as one of life’s greatest miracles. The process is perfect for the questioning child. You can show them the process, but can you really tell them why it happens? It is nature at work. The process of the change is something that I never tire of. Each and every time it is exciting.

When my children were small I replicated the process at home by capturing one of the striped caterpillars. I put it into a jar and provided plenty of milkweed leaves. That is supposedly the favorite food for this caterpillar. It makes sense that when you want to find one of these caterpillars, you look on milkweed plants. If you see large irregular holes in the leaves of the plant keep looking because a caterpillar is there somewhere.

It was not long until the caterpillar disappeared inside of a pretty green casing. The casing hung from a branch in the jar that I provided. We watched that chrysalis daily noting any changes that we saw. If we were very observant we noticed that the green casing was turning a dark color. Then it was not long until it looked black. What happened before our eyes was the change of a caterpillar to the monarch butterfly. Although the monarch is a brilliant orange color that color is not noticeable until it spreads its wings.

We came home one night and found a butterfly flying around the living room from lamp to lamp. How did that happen? Once the caterpillar was encased I removed the jar lid with the holes poked in it. The children were very excited. As I recall we let the butterfly be because it was already dark outside. We wanted to be able to see our specimen fly away. The next morning we found a stick and captured the butterfly on the stick. It was time to let it go. It sat on the stick for a minute or two before it flew away. What a wonderful lesson in nature.

That is not the only time I captured a caterpillar to watch the metamorphosis. My students in school and I did it several times. Each time the result was a wonder to behold. The one time my fourth graders completed the activity we took the newly hatched butterflies outside but they simply would not fly away. No matter what we did they would not leave the sticks we carried them on. It was a Friday afternoon and we could not leave the butterflies in the classroom so we gently moved them to some bushes on the perimeter of the school. We had no more than come indoors and the heavens opened up with a torrential downpour. I am sure that nature was at work. Those butterflies could sense the storm coming, thus they did not leave.

I read an account about a person who helped a butterfly come out of the chrysalis by opening it for him. The result was a butterfly that was unable to fly. It is said that the wings dry during the “birth” process that we refer to as the opening of the chrysalis. The moral of the story is to let nature take its course. Why don’t we adhere to that principle more often?

There are many times in life when we try to help someone whether they are a friend, a family member, or a stranger. Often our help is detrimental. We become enablers. The person is forced to grow if he/she experiences a difficulty or a disappointment. When we ask the Lord for help most of us are really asking for the Lord to do as we wish. That is not always the best thing for us. He sees the whole picture while we only see a part of it.

Sometimes the answer is simply not now. Sometimes the answer is no. The Lord works in his time. If you are in a situation where you are struggling give the Lord the reins. Let him decide what is best. That is a very difficult lesson I know.

When my husband was ill I was not ready to let him go. I knew that I was able to take care of myself, but I wanted my life companion to be around to enjoy life with me. When I was finally able to say the words, “Thy will be done.” It was with a heavy heart.

Those of you who have followed my writing know that it was not to be. The Lord healed him as I asked but it was in his way and in his time. That was a very tough lesson for me.

Recently as I traveled I heard a song on the radio that I love. It is about letting go. “He hears me. He sees me. Thy will be done!” The next song was “He Isn’t finished with me yet.” I am sure there was a mini-sermon in that selection of songs given just for me and anyone else who might currently be experiencing difficulty. I felt truly blessed.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net