Is there anything on earth more fragile or beautiful than a butterfly?
They only live about a month but undergo the most amazing transformation in that short time that makes our lives look epic in comparison.
What is one of the first science lessons you learned in school? Probably the life cycle of the butterfly.... changing from a caterpillar spinning a chrysalis into a magnificent flying creature. And if you were lucky, your teacher provided a butterfly house to let you see the change for yourself.
It was many years ago that I first read James Dillet Freeman's beautiful poem about butterflies. I print it here now for you to enjoy as a prayer, meditation or mantra.
I Too May Be More
Butterflies bear witness
To the power of fragile things;
On wings like morning-glory petals
They flutter over oceans
And mountain ranges.
Butterflies are flowers
That dared to fly.
Like rainbows, they say God to me;
What made them must be something
That makes things just to make them beautiful.
Would you even believe in them
If all you knew was caterpillars?
When I see butterflies they lift me
On their tissue-paper wings!
I too may be more
Than my crawl discloses.
In 1992, when I was in the Ministerial Education Program at Unity Village, I was honored to meet Unity's Poet Laureate and told him I had been carrying his poem folded up in my wallet...I had been carrying it for some years by that time. He responded that he would get me a new one signed by him, and sure enough, on Monday morning there in my student mailbox was a hand-signed copy with the inscription "To Eileen Douglas." If course, I framed it, and it hangs in my home wherever I move.
Let me speak a minute about why this poem and the butterfly itself means so much to me. First, of course, is its identification as a symbol of resurrection and new life. But more than that, it is a symbol of complete transformation because of its amazing metamorphosis. This creature undergoes something so stupendous that we as humans can barely believe it with our own eyes when we see it. Imagine what surrender and what energy it took to go through this change!
What if we were to experience such a complete change? What would it be like? Would we surrender or resist? Would we celebrate the outcome or would we complain? Since many cultures across time and distance have associated the butterfly with the soul, would we be able to accept the ultimate transformation of our soul?
Being a butterfly takes faith, surrender, courage, and grace. As we pray for change, for transformation for ourselves, are we ready for all that comes with it? I wonder....Are we, too, more than our crawl discloses?
Creator of All, I surrender to the transformation of my soul with all that is necessary for this spiritual journey. Make me, mold me, move me, use me. And so it is.