The Young Man And The Butterfly

A young man is out walking in the woods. A movement nearby catches his attention. He looks over and, unsure of what he sees, moves closer. There he finds the cacoon of a butterfly. At the tip of the cacoon is a small opening. He watches as the transformed caterpillar inside struggles to crawl free.

Several hours pass as the young man continues watching. The caterpillar inside seems to have given up. The small opening at the end of its cacoon remains the same size, keeping him trapped within.

The young man, though fascinated by the caterpillar’s effort, begins to grow tired of waiting. He fears that the small bug has lost its strength and given up. He decides to help him out.

Carefully, he takes his pocket knife and ever so gently cuts off a small piece of the cacoon, enlarging the opening at its end.

A few moments pass. The caterpillar doesn’t seem to recognize the chance for freedom. Then, just as it had stopped, it began its struggle once again, this time making its way out with ease. It crawls its way out onto the cacoon and the young man watches, excited and waiting for the new butterfly to take flight.

But something’s wrong. He looks in horror at the creature before him. Its body is swollen. The wings, designed to carry him off into the sky, lay limp and lifeless and its side, underdeveloped and useless. He looks on, shocked, as the realization slowly hits him. The helpless butterfly will never fly.

Butterfly’s have an amazing characteristic in their design. You see, what the young boy didn’t know is that the struggle he witnessed is part of the process each caterpillar must go there. When they begin to emerge, they are fat, undeveloped, and unfit to fly. The struggle between them and breaking free is what forms them, what shapes them. Without that struggle, they would forever be earthbound.

We are a lot like those butterflies. The struggles in life are what shape us. The struggles in life are what prepare us for what’s ahead. The struggles are what give us strength, they’re what teach us to overcome all that life may throw our way. They are what teach us to pick ourselves up from the ground and fly.

With each struggle, we must remember too, like that butterfly, never give up. And, lets also keep in mind that, as tempting as it may be to get in and “help” someone, sometimes what we think might help could actually end up hurting. We want to make sure we are never responsible for robbing someone of their wings.

Goodnight World :)

-Jonathan Wold