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We can all be caterpillars

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

February 10, 2021

She calls me “Caterpillar.”

I honestly don’t remember when or how it started, but one of my best friends sometimes ends our text message exchanges with a version of “good night, Caterpillar.”

It doesn’t happen in every conversation, though. It’s how she ends exchanges in which I vent or seek wisdom/support about some struggle or stress I’m facing.

Why caterpillar?

Because you sometimes have to spend time on the ground and have a period of struggle and transformation before you can really fly.

I was already thinking about writing about that image this week when it popped up again. I was catching up on one of my favorite podcasts, and there was an episode titled “struggle is necessary.”

In it, the podcaster, Father Mike Schmitz, tells the story of a man who found an emperor moth cocoon. The man took the cocoon home, so he could watch for the moth to emerge. When a small opening appeared in the cocoon, the man sat and watched the moth for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further. The moth just seemed to be stuck.

The man decided to help the moth. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The moth was never able to fly. The man didn’t realize that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was the way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight.

It's struggle was necessary.

As we approach that penitential time that is Lent, I thought about how uncomfortable it can be to struggle with our sinfulness.

We’re called to do just that, though. We’re called to identify our sinfulness, repent of it and transform our lives with the help of our Savior’s grace so we can celebrate His resurrection and join Him in eternal life. We’re called to go from the ground and try to prepare ourselves to fly. Our struggles are necessary.

We can all be caterpillars.

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