"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."
I'd like to share a story about struggle that was told to me years ago by a minister friend and mentor. It touched me deeply at the time and still resonates. It's a message of hope for anyone who is struggling, a ray of sunlight shining through the tiny hole in the cocoon: (Story of the Butterfly as adapted by Paul Coelho)
A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.
The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.
The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shrivelled wings, incapable of flight.
What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.
As a caregiver, are you stuck in the cocoon, struggling to burst forth as a butterly, but utterly unsure how to do that? Does the cocoon feel dark and scary and more suffocating than nurturing? It's important to remember that we all have "caterpillar" moments -- times when we simply cannot envision the transformation that needs to happen for us to fly free. Don't give up hope! There's a bit of sunlight shining through to guide you. Have faith that the struggle will be over, you will triumphantly emerge, stretch your beautiful butterfly wings and soar!
Karen is a compassionate, enthusiastic student of life, who cared for her mother for 17 years. She brings her insights, compassion, experience and desire to share knowledge and healing to this ongoing conversation with others on the caregiving path. If you are caring for a parent, spouse, friend or other loved one this site offers sanity-saving tips, open-hearted self-care ideas, and an open forum for discussion, connection and sharing resources for the journey.
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