I frequently read “The Hungry Caterpillar” to my three boys, and have always assumed that the page with the cocoon involved a quiet period of time where the caterpillar grows some wings and gets ready to fly.
What I only recently learned is that the transformation that takes place within the cocoon is a much more intriguing process than the same old caterpillar merely sprouting some pretty wings. In fact, during its time in the cocoon, the caterpillar first digests itself and becomes a different substance altogether, a type of caterpillar “soup.” For a while, things get kind of messy. It looks neither like what it used to be, nor what it will become. But in the midst of the mess, there are highly organized discs, each of which will become specific parts of the butterfly with specific functions and purposes. Somewhere in the soup exists a blueprint for breathtaking wings that will allow it to soar.
The butterfly has long been used as a metaphor for transformation, but it now takes on an even clearer meaning for me of what transformation entails. Don’t we, in the midst of life transitions, end up feeling like a messy soup sometimes? But that is not the end, nor is it completely the mess it seems to be. There is a purpose waiting to unfold in the right timing, and it is there for each one of us.
If you presently find yourself in the “soup”, see it as a purposeful time of preparation for a beautiful transformation to unfold. The current reality is temporary, and can be the very substance and foundation of what lies ahead.