When my son was in kindergarten, he learned “The Butterfly Song”. The song begins “If I were a butterfly, I’d thank the Lord for giving me wings. If I were a robin in a tree I’d thank you Lord that I could sing.” It goes on and you can YouTube “The Butterfly Song”. I can still remember him with his missing front teeth lisp singing that song to me and his little brothers. It is one of my most favorite memories of him as a little boy.
Imagine that we are caterpillars and our loved ones who have passed are butterflies. It is not so much that they have died as it is that we have not been fully developed. Imagine that they have simply passed to the next stage and that it is us who have not arrived.
That is a thought that went through my head this morning. As I pondered this idea the more it resonated with me. Our loved ones have advanced from being a caterpillar with only feet to move their body to developing wings and no longer feeling the burdens of this world.
I love my life and my family but as I began to think about my experience here on earth along with the joy, being here comes with a lot of burden as well. The struggle to find a job, the worry of stretching money to pay bills. Politics, wars, health issues, relationship issues, etc. Maybe growing a set of wings and just enjoying living without the heavy load that comes with being stuck on the ground by gravity is the way to go. That would be the ultimate in retirement!
A desire for awareness has become a priority in my life. An awareness of the spiritual, living in the moment, and spending time with my family is my focus.
It has always been so easy for me to get caught up in the drudgery of life, the day-in-day-out-ness of it all. Get up, take a shower, dry my hair, get dressed, make the bed, make myself some breakfast, etc. When I was raising small children it was this and doing all of those things for them as well. Where does the time go? The routines of life can go on all day until the next thing I know it’s bedtime again. Seven days of this and a week has passed. Four weeks of this and a month has passed. The next thing I know it’s June 25th and I’m thinking only six more months until Christmas.
It is so easy when I am on autopilot for me to live by habit and not live with intention. Intention is the thought process that tells me, I normally do this on Saturdays but instead I am making a conscious, intentional decision to (fill in the blank). That might be taking the weekend to visit extended family. For some, that might be to go fishing instead of the usual Saturday chores. Whatever that thing is for you that makes you feel energized and full of excitement about the best parts of this life. Maybe heaven is like that every day for our loved ones. Maybe my son is the one who is full of life, not me!
When I think about the possibility that I am a caterpillar it gives me a sense of The Big Picture. The Big Picture that God sees. Our souls being placed in our mother’s womb (a cocoon), becoming a caterpillar, then moving on to be a butterfly. The Whole. Big. Picture. Thinking this way gives me spiritual freedom. I don’t feel imprisoned in my grief when I choose to feel this way. I feel free from the boundaries that earth puts on me. I feel a Oneness with All That Is and all that there will be when I become a butterfly.
When I become a butterfly, I do not want my loved ones who are still caterpillars to feel sad that I got my wings. I can understand if they feel sad that I am no longer a caterpillar with them. I don’t want them to feel “Poor Mom” got her wings. I want them really enjoy all that there is to being a caterpillar. (I would appreciate if they would think about me with a smile every now and then.)
I think the purpose of our time as a caterpillar is to learn. Earth is a school where I am learning lessons about hope, faith, joy, empathy, sorrow, struggle, etc. When God just plopped Adam and Eve into the Garden of Eden they didn’t have a full appreciation of the perfection of it all. Maybe it is through these lessons learned here on earth that I will have a greater appreciation for the magnificence of heaven.
As I thought about the cocoon, caterpillar, butterfly stages is was a peaceful feeling. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have times of grief for my son and wonder the ” what if’s”. What if he was still in his former state of caterpillar. But I have found that when I stay in grief mode too long it doesn’t serve me in a positive way. I don’t feel better when I am in active grief mode. It is only when I regroup and move back into The Big Picture frame of mind that my spirit feels free.
It is in The Big Picture mode that I begin to feel open to the signs that my son sends to me like the cardinal, a song on the radio, or the discovered treasure in a drawer. I tend to sit quietly in my chair when I am in grief mode. It is only when I am practicing seeing The Big Picture that I get moving. I look out the window and see my cardinal, begin neatening a drawer, and turning on the music.
It’s hard being a caterpillar sometimes. It sure helps having some caterpillar friends on the journey with me.
Peace and Love.
She writes about life, death, grief, and recovery.