Thursday, April 7, 2011

Don't squash the caterpillars.

"Something traumatic happened today," the kindergarten teacher told me as she walked my 6 year old to the car.  "She cried - she'll tell you."  Sarah was already frowning mightily when I asked her what happened.  "Diego killed a caterpillar on the playground!" she shouts at me - arms crossed, lips pursed out as if she might cry again right then and there.  "He squashed it with a stick!"  I asked her what she did and her response was that she'd thrown her jacket down and stomped away crying...with much drama if I know my little girl.

So this makes me think.  Sarah went to the butterfly exhibit at the Florida National History Museum a couple of weeks ago.  She learned all about the life cycle of a butterfly - knew the stages before the beautiful creature gets its pretty wings.  She knew that caterpillar lost it's chance to become a beautiful butterfly.  She probably didn't have the wherewithal to explain all this to poor adventuresome Diego, who probably felt awful after Sarah's dramatic display of emotions.  But what one does not know, one cannot fully judge.

There are many situations that present themselves in our lives as we go through each day, month,  year, as time passes on and on and we grow older and experience more.  When we are children, most of us have a natural wonder - eager to see and experience all that we can.  As we grow older and things don't turn out the way we planned, some of us close ourselves off to what could be lurking around the bend.  Everything doesn't work out the way we want it to.  No one can tromp through life without taking a misstep once in a while.  It happens.  If you live, you hurt.  But joy can be and is found every day. 

Caterpillars aren't cute creatures.  In fact, they're quite ugly, unless you're watching A Bug's Life!  Looking at that caterpillar crawling in the dirt, all hairy and nasty, I can see why Diego might want to get rid of it.  Just end the poor thing - get it out of its misery.  But see, if he'd only given it a few more days, he would have witnessed just how beautiful that little guy would become. 

When something in your life seems ugly, doesn't fit just right and right away, or just doesn't measure up to your expectations - when the going gets tough and you're sure you should end it - that's when you have to hold on and wait a minute.  Give it some time.  Let the thing grow a while undisturbed save for any nurture you might want to give it.  Feed, water, and hold the thing in your palm, close to your heart.  You just don't know if that thing you're thinking about squashing could become something to behold if left to develop naturally. 

Inhale.  Exhale.  Have patience.

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