I've written a lot about how much I've changed in the past year or so, probably more so than any other period during my entire adult life. But only recently have I truly begun to comprehend the magnitude of the change and it's spiritual significance.
In the message at church yesterday morning, the pastor talked about caterpillars, those slinky, furry little creatures who crawl around just below the radar, serving no particular purpose other than eating every leaf in sight. They have very poor vision and I'm guessing that everything looks pretty much the same. Day in and day out, life must seem boring at best and utterly hopeless at worst. I know a lot of people who live life like that. In fact, I used to be one of them.
But, unlike a lot of humans, caterpillars somehow know that they have an appointment with destiny. They carry on, day after day, and when the time is right, they crawl inside a cocoon to begin the hard work of transformation.
I don't know how long they stay in there, but I can only imagine how dark, lonely, painful and scary it must be. They are isolated and singularly focused on the internal and external struggle that they were born to embrace. Yet, we all know how this story ends, the struggle was worth it, because what crawled into that cocoon as a yucky little caterpillar emerged victoriously as an entirely new creature, a beautiful butterfly with wings to soar and beauty to behold.
While listening to the message, I realized that the pastor was describing another metamorphisis - my own. I'd been praying for spiritual and emotional growth for years, and while I did grow in spurts, my life wasn't changing in any substantive ways. Although there were bright days, I was circling the same mountain again and again. But in the past several months, I've been blessed with some new friends. And as part of the process of getting to know them and allowing myself to be known by them, I've sensed a strange disconnect between the person that I describe when I talk truthfully about my past and the person that they've come to know and care about.
It wasn't until yesterday that I realized that the reason I feel, and they sense, a disconnect is because I'm not talking about the same person. Yes, I look the same (other than the obvious signs of aging), but in God's infinite wisdom, He gave me more than I prayed for. He didn't enable me to grow, He empowered me to change. I too started out as a caterpillar, and I spent years in the cocoon. It was dark, it was frightening, and despite the support that I had from loving family and friends, when it came down to it, I had to do the hard work alone.
But I'm here to tell you, there is life on the other side... and the view is absolutely spectactular!