The last few weeks I have been very emotional about a few things. I have questioned myself as to why I am revisiting some of these emotions that I thought I had already worked through.
Today, as I watched a butterfly flutter its way around my blooming flowers, I wondered if he ever missed being a caterpillar. Somehow, in that single silly thought, lay the answer to my wonderings.
Summer is in full swing at our house. There are projects that we are trying to do, cleaning out of winter clutter, and activities to plan. There are certain traditions that we have done every summer as a family – playing in the creek, hiking in state parks, riding bikes with the children, hours of fun at playgrounds – so many things that remind me of what life was before and the reality of how it is now. Last summer, I was very pregnant, having the baby, and recovering from surgery so somehow these things didn’t bother me. This summer…I feel more like my old self and am ready to go!
I try to continue to do what I can and make the adjustments to doing it differently. But it is different – sometimes so very different that the memory of it is too painful to even want to continue trying. But I must keep trying – I don’t want to give in and quit.
Anyone that is paralyzed can tell you that so many things are a struggle. Paralysis is not just that you can’t walk. To be honest, without going into detail, there are other things that I would rather “get back” that would be higher on a list than walking.
There are, of course, the physical struggles of wheeling yourself from point A to B. The struggles of getting up, showering, getting dressed, doing your housework, cooking, trying to keep your body healthy and functioning as it should, circulation issues, trying to avoid pressure sores, and trying to stay limber so your joints don’t freeze.
There are emotional struggles. Feeling like you are a burden to those who help you – from your closest family member who helps in ways that no one else sees, to you friends who put your chair up for you in the rain while you sit in the dry car. The struggle of living with pain every day but trying to stay cheerful so you have a happy atmosphere in the home. You know, “If momma ain’t happy….”! The struggle when your children come to you crying because they can’t remember anymore when you walked and you convince them that we are all together and alive and that is what matters. They walk away happy and satisfied and then you cry because you feel like you have been the cause of their little broken hearts. The struggle of hearing fun activities being planned and knowing that every little detail will have to involve if you can get around in your chair or not. If it is not accessible, you are out.
Yes, the spiritual struggles. Balancing a life of faith with a fleshly body. Balancing asking God questions without demanding answers. Balancing “leaning not to my own understanding” with wanting to figure it all out. These last paragraphs have not been written to evoke pity but to make a point.
That butterfly – that beautiful butterfly, freely flying through the air. So quickly it went, wherever it wanted. No barriers. No struggle in sight. Gracefully maneuvering and providing me with joy just to watch it. Then came the question if it ever missed being a caterpillar? I am confident that if it could communicate to me, it would say no.
That caterpillar – limited by the ground or only where his feet would allow him to go. Trudging slowly along wherever he went, he was prey to anything that could come along and stomp him underfoot.
That day – the day the change happened for him. He was thrown into a world he had known nothing about before. Changes took place in his little body that, had he human emotions, would have frightened and panicked him as he felt like all control had been lost.
The struggle – the process of coming out of the cocoon to be revealed as a butterfly. The story is told of a man who watched this process happening. He watched the butterfly struggling and struggling to break the cocoon away from himself so that he could be free. The man felt pity for the little butterfly and helped to break away the cocoon to free him. When the butterfly came out, his wings were crippled and he could not fly. The man asked an authority why this had happened and was told that the struggle of breaking out of the cocoon was what strengthened the wings and allowed the butterfly to fly.
I want to not be bound by the past, by fears, by unanswered questions, by the feelings of loss or sadness, or by my own lack of faith. I want to be free. I want to fly. I know that it is in and through these struggles that I am gaining the strength that I need to be free. I know, that as I come through these struggles, a stronger wife, mother, friend and Christian, I will look back and never desire to be a caterpillar. I can already see some things, but at times my vision gets blurry.
I am so thankful for my Creator and the reminder of the butterfly to clear things up for me. Let’s fly!