Sometimes change is great – like when a vacation is just around the corner. Or when you finally get around to organizing the garage. Other times, change is just hard and unwelcomed. I’m the kind of person who prefers to see what is coming. I love surprises but it’s better if I know what it is first. I like to put on a front about how I roll with the punches, but really – I don’t like punches. And, I certainly don’t like it when the punches force me to make unwanted changes.
Well – life doesn’t work that way, does it? Life seems to come at us one punch after another until we feel like the short-end of a Muhammad Ali boxing match. Ali is oft-quoted as having said,
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Before we can float like a butterfly – we have to grow wings. Growing wings requires change … a complete transformation. You know the kind of changes where you have to take a hard look at yourself and confront the really ugly parts.
We all learned the life cycle of a butterfly at some point – egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. Our journey through this world is much the same. We are born into this life, pretty much helpless and hungry like baby caterpillars. At this point, we are both brimming with potential.
The baby caterpillar eats his way through the leaf where he was born until he grows to a point where he is ready to enter the next phase of change. We don’t eat our way through leaves but just the way that leaf prepares the caterpillar for real change – our experiences in life stretch and grow us. A lot of these experiences are fuel us for our real metamorphism.
With hindsight, we can all point to challenging circumstances that set us up to face even more difficult times of our own or prepare us to help another face similar difficulty. While losing a sibling isn’t the same to me as losing a child, I am forced to admit that the experience helped to prepare me to deal with loss in general. Though we don’t welcome the hard times, but we can choose to gain from the perspective.
When we start to wrap ourselves in the chrysalis of perspective – that’s when the real makeover begins. Within the stillness of the caterpillar’s cocoon – a lot is going on. Every cell of the stubby caterpillar is reworked until it emerges beautiful and ready for flight. Perspective can become our own cocoon in the chaos. Perspective can insulate us when the world is upside down and nothing seems to make sense.
What is perspective? It’s remembering that whatever troubles us in this life is only temporary. No matter how deep the cut, we will be healed. No matter how wide the cast of lies, the truth will be uncovered. No matter how unfathomable the offense against you may be, there will be a day of reckoning.
Like that stubby caterpillar, there is a lot of change happening when we truly embrace an eternal perspective. The change will leave no part of our beings untouched. Our eyes begin to see differently. Our hearts beat differently. Our stubby souls are twisted and turned and tuned away from ourselves and toward God. He gives us wings to float above the chaos until that day arrives when there’ll be no more tears.