Have you noticed that butterflies take a while to get free from their cocoon? She struggles to be free, she even bleeds. It’s a redemptive suffering; a process of growth.
In the beginning of the journey, there is darkness. She can no longer stand the safety of her cocoon. In her solitude, she is hungry… but the desire is for something new. As she slowly wiggles herself lose, she can see the light shining through her broken skin.
As the last piece of consecrated suffering falls to the ground, she is ready to be free… but first she must bleed. For three hours she waits as blood drips from her wings. Then she lifts off her branch in search of the sweetest drink.
Looking back at the past two years, I have grown. Painfully and slowly, but immensely. This weekend I realized I was still in my cocoon, waiting for more growth. I did not realize I was already equipped with the wings to fly. There was one thing holding me back from exiting my cocoon- fear.
On the retreat this weekend, I was asked, “What are you currently suffering with?” After a deep evaluation of my unexpected answer, I found I was suffering from insecurity and fear. I thought I was getting through life fine, but then I realized the lie hiding behind my “strong independent woman” demeanor. There was a desire for completion outside of myself. Whenever you have a desire, it means you have a lack. Until you can be full and grateful for what you have, you will not be given more.
It all goes back to the servants who invested their talents and produced more as opposed to the ungrateful servant who buried his (Matthew 25:14-28). When I left Vegas, I set out with a mission to do God’s work. Sometimes we don’t know where we go wrong. We hold onto the task at hand- “stay strong, stay strong, ignore negative emotions…” sometimes we just need to cry, be vulnerable and open up.
What I found this weekend is that people like vulnerability. They want to know you suffer too and hear your heart. When you open up to other Christians, you are talking to the same Spirit. It is the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit that unites the body of the Church. Trusting your brothers and sisters in Christ is the first step to freedom. Their face may change, but the Spirit is the same.
The butterfly analogy has a unique and deep meaning for me. First, my name means butterfly. Secondly, I have been searching for a new beginning- one free from my past, but now I realize, it is my past that imprints the design of my wings and gives me flight.
Without my past, I have no understanding and compassion. I had to be a caterpillar on the ground searching for truth- only able to see the lowly life in front of me. From there, I had to desire more and build a cocoon- set up a new life away from what I knew. Inside, I fasted from the outside pleasures of life and focused on the fruits of the Spirit and Grace. This is where the healing took place.
Now I am a butterfly. I’m not sure what I will do with my new wings. I’m still on the branch bleeding my last drops of blood preparing for flight. Being so close to the wind is intoxicating. I know God has great plans for me. I know this last step is preparation and growth. I must stretch out my wings, no matter the pain; exercise the Grace he’s given me and leave behind the lowly life for the sweet taste of God- the taste of the promise land.