1 a : an envelope often largely of silk which an insect larva forms about itself and in which it passes the pupa stage
A friend gave me a book I've never read for my birthday and the title immediately intrigued me: When The Heart Waits. The book itself has intrigued me even more. It's a book to savor and read slowly. I'm reading one chapter at a time to let the words, thoughts and images sink down into my heart before moving on. In the first chapter, Sue Monk Kidd talks about being in the midst of a spiritual crisis moment and crying out to God for a sign, for an answer. Instead of an answer, she turned around to find a cocoon hanging in a tree. From there, she saw butterflies and cocoons everywhere - in a childhood book remembered, in an art gallery, through a gift from a friend. "Sometimes God is funny about pointing things out again and again," I thought to myself and smiled as I read.
Shortly after that I realized I had been seeing butterflies everywhere myself: in Flight Behavior, in birthday art created especially for me by a friend, in the When The Heart Waits book. Since 2009, I have associated butterflies with faith. That was the year B found a monarch caterpillar and brought him home for us to witness his transformation as a family. I wrote about that experience back then (if you follow the link, start at the bottom and read your way up) and as I re-read those posts this morning, tears came. I am still awed by the contrast of my fear and B's quiet confidence. She had complete faith that her caterpillar Artie would emerge as the butterfly he was meant to be. And she was right.
So why am I seeing butterfly imagery everywhere lately? (I will confess I am wearing a dress with butterflies printed all over it as I type this - completely unintentional.) I suspect God is trying to tell me something. Sue Monk Kidd's words about waiting in her book have certainly resonated with me. I want to be patient in the waiting, relinquish my own desire to control the outcome and trust that what emerges will be transformed.
That is more difficult than it sounds. I do long for this decade of my life to be about transformation. I want to be what I was really made to be, not what I think I should be. I want to see myself truly and live boldly. But in order to get there, I have to give myself over to the waiting in the cocoon. Even that is harder than I would like for it to be. If I could slip into a chrysalis and hang there all alone for a few days or weeks, that might be easy to settle down for. Instead, I have to give myself over to waiting for transformation while teaching, chauffeuring, parenting and managing my family.
Will it be worth it? Can I wait patiently to become someone worth knowing, loving and doing life alongside? Can I really change and stay transformed? Because as I read those posts from 2009, I am feeling much the same way right now - low on solitude, like what I need is distasteful to others and hard to come by, afraid I won't ever emerge from this season. Am I even ready to emerge as a butterfly at the other end of my time in the cocoon? I'm not sure a butterfly is the animal I would choose to represent me, but I do love that butterflies move lightly and quickly through life, touching down gently, leaving a small wake of beauty as they go. That I could buy in to.