“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” MAYA ANGELOU
Why is it that butterflies become beautiful in our sight only when they have survived the stages of development leading up to their appearance before us in our yards as flitting, soaring, gliding, sailing, dancing, fluttering marvels of nature? We hardly appreciate them as eggs, larvae, and caterpillars. Rarely do we say, “Oh look! A spectacular worm.”
Members of the Kingdom animalia, Phylum Euarthropoda, Class insecta, Order lepidoptera are a species dating to the Paleocene Era about 56 million years ago. The eastern North American population of monarchs can travel thousands of miles to over-wintering sites in Mexico and reverse the migration in the spring. The British painted lady undertakes a 9000 mile round trip in a series of steps by up to six generations from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle. WIKIPEDIA
Yes, I am about to compare us, humans, to butterflies. Don’t you see the similarity? Or, if you would rather, I could liken us to mosquitoes or house flies? (Yes, I have been called maggot on occasion.) We do, after all, share some pesky traits with those insects also. OK, then. Now that we see eye to eye, I am going to call you and me beautiful butterflies. As you perused the opening photographs, which one is most splendid to you? Did you choose one that is brightly colored? or one that is intricately patterned? or one that is a stately monochrome?
The extravagant beauty of a butterfly is self-evident. We see it, we marvel, and we say, “Oh, what a lovely creature that is!” Not so much with us humans. We are short, tall, obese and slender. We are black, brown, red, yellow, white and many shades in between. We have black hair, brown hair, red hair, blonde hair, straight hair, curly hair and like those of us who have raised too many children or seen too many years, we have white hair or no hair. Not all of us are at our beautiful butterfly stage. Some of us are in the not-so-pretty stages of eggs, larvae and caterpillars. Men especially can relate to being called a “worm” by a disgruntled spouse.
But, as Maya Angelou so profoundly says it, our transformational beauty has to endure the sometimes ugly stages before we are recognized by the world as the gorgeous humans which we are. Whatever size, shape, shade, or sex we grow up to be, we are beautiful when allowed and encouraged to mature into a sailing, soaring, fluttering, floating masterpiece of the Lord’s handiwork.
Just like the butterfly, each one of us is a miraculous creation in his/her own right. The Book of Genesis tells us that God created each of us in the image of God. GENESIS 1:27 Male and female He made them in his image. The wisdom of the ancients tells us that we are God-like. So how can we be anything less than beautiful, compassionate, loving, replicas of our Creator?
Of course, you can be a pesky mosquito or house fly. They also have purpose and reason in God’s universe. It’s your choice. But, I’m going to be a swallowtail when I grow up.