We all know what happens to slimy, grubby, little caterpillars. They eat a lot (all us parents are real clear on this one, thanks to Eric Carle), spin cocoons by the light of the moon, and emerge as Very Beautiful Butterflies.
What I never knew, until a few years ago, is what happens inside the cocoon.
If I thought about it at all, I figured it was caterpillar spa world: a little massage, sauna, and hot tub, drink your cucumber water, swipe your credit card, you're done.
The reality, of course, is far more complicated. And I would pass out in 2 minutes if I really had to try to understand it, so I went to my friend Wikipedia, who generally puts things in terms I can comprehend. This is what Wikipedia says about butterflies and cocoons:
In the life of an insect the pupal stage follows the larval stage and precedes adulthood (imago). It is during the time of pupation that the adult structures of the insect are formed while the larval structures are broken down. Pupae are inactive, and usually sessile (not able to move about). They have a hard protective coating and often use camouflage to evade potential predators.
Pupation may last weeks, months or even years.
Did you catch this? The adult structures of the insect are formed while the larval structures are broken down. A source I read a while back called it "mitochondrial stew."
Here's what happens in the cocoon: butterfly soup.
And that doesn't sound good me.
Even though I may be slimy and and grubby and small, the caterpillar life looks pretty good, when pupation is my next option.
I do not go there gladly. Kicking and screaming, more like.
We don't want to be broken down and remade. We don't want to be inactive. We don't want to be helpless against predators. We don't want to be in a process that may last weeks, months, or (merciful heavens) years.
You know what Job said: "The thing that I feared has come upon me." (Job 3:25)
God promises us that He is making all things new. (Revelation 21:5)
And it seems like He is committed to our healing and our wholeness in a way that we are really not.
We'd like to be better, but we'd like to control it on the way.
And God says, "I have better things for you that your little caterpillar brain can imagine. Enter in."
Coming undone is how we get remade.
For our slimly larval selves, on the journey to imago and adulthood, pupation is part of the process.
Unless a grain of wheat fall.
No matter what.
No matter how soupy, no matter how stuck, no matter how long.
We trust in Love. We trust in Grace. We trust in Home eventually.
Where are you in the process?
What's your cocoon look like today?