Did you know that caterpillars are not “transformed” into butterflies? In metamorphosis (the name of the process), a caterpillar is liquefied. Only after its actual death can entirely new creature, a butterfly, emerge!
But most people’s image of the process is more like Eric Carle’s classic children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, in which the little caterpillar “makes a cocoon around himself and goes to sleep, only to wake up a few weeks later wonderfully transformed into a butterfly!” (amazon.com)
The Very Dead Caterpillar would probably have sold fewer copies. But it would have been more accurate.
When I was a kid, I used to love going to La Mirada Creek and catching those pudgy little pre-frogs we called pollywogs (you may have known them as tadpoles). I would bring them home and dump them into a tub, and then watch with fascination as they shed their tails, sprouted legs, and crawled out like showroom models: “The new Frog!” That’s transformation (“change of form”) and it’s majorly cool. But it’s not what a caterpillar does.
A caterpillar dies.
After building its own coffin (cocoon), the caterpillar seals itself inside—and dissolves. And then, in a process only vaguely understood by scientists, that stew of free-floating genetic material undergoes a total metamorphosis (“change of nature”).
In other words, butterflies are not souped-up caterpillars, they’re entirely new creations made from caterpillar soup!
Not surprisingly, caterpillars and butterflies are used as spiritual symbols in virtually every culture on earth. But because the real process is so radical and so little understood, they’re nearly always represented as symbols of transformation, rather than metamorphosis. To be fair, many religious teachings do help people become better caterpillars.
But that’s not enough.
According to Jesus, God doesn’t want souped-up caterpillars, he wants butterflies. He wants us to die to ourselves (Luke 9:23-24) and become completely “new creations” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Just like caterpillars do.
The Apostle Paul (in the Greek language of Romans 12:1 and 2) describes the process ofmetamorphosislike this:
“Present your bodies as a living sacrifice (build your cocoon and get in!), holy (‘set apart’), acceptable to God (nothing short of metamorphosis can accomplish this)… Don’t be conformed by (don’t take on the ‘shape’ of) this world (or ‘age’ or ‘era’), but (instead) be metamorphosed (changed in your very nature) by the renewing (‘regenerating’ or ‘re-growing”) of your mind (incidentally, the Greek word for mind is psuche—the same as the Greek word for butterfly!) so that you may be discerning (only by being metamorphosed can you know) what is the will of God (as opposed to the will of a dark and broken world), what is good, well-pleasing, and perfect (‘complete’ or ‘whole’—in contrast to the incompleteness and brokenness of this world).”
Caterpillars and butterflies are the world’s most popular symbol of transformation. But they’re also a far more powerful and challenging metaphor than most people realize.
It’s still the beginning of a new year. What better time to start over, not just as “the new You!” but as a completely new creation!
Are you ready to start work on that cocoon? Thanks Mitch, much appreciated, theRooster
On 24 September an old and dear friend of twenty five plus years left his earthly homeland of Bavaria, Germany. Hubertus, along with his two brothers, owned a centuries old farm on Collins Wharf Rd in Allen, MD. This farm, which lies behind a brick gateway along Wicomico Creek has been a mainstay of the community since 1733.
Hubertus was surrounded by daughters Natalie, Isabel, Carolin and Sophie who held him, and eased his fears to let go, and feel safe in his passing.
Hubertus reminded Mary Agnes and me as being like an overgrown Leprecheaun. Hubertus was always so happy with life, especially his yearly visits to the Eastern Shore and the village of Allen.
There are nothing but wonderful memories of Hubertus and his daughters over the years. Once I picked him and his entourage up at Dulles airport each year, it was a constant how’s this, how’s that and what’s new. This went on non-stop until once on the Eastern Shore and the “Kentucky Fried Chicken” sign was spotted,
( Hubert’s greatest toy was his hydrofoil, brought over from Germany in a shipping crate many years ago. The scene of that boat flying up the Wicomico River at 60 mph with Hubert at the helm, shall be greatly missed.)
My best interpretation of the Death Notice
You are no longer where you were, but you are everywhere we are
DR. Hubertus Rechberg
died peacefully in the circle of his beloved daughter
12 March 1948 in Munich
Died September 24, 2019 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
In great love and gratitude we bid farewell to our father, father-in-law, grand-father and brother.
Wednesday the 2nd of October
11:00 am funeral service and funeral takes place
in the parish church ST. Clemens in 82438 Eschenlohe place.
12:30 – 17 o’clock approx. Reception in Wengwies
5.30 pm Children’s dinner PANCAKES – at Kiki (Maus’s kitchen is occupied by the caterer!)
The author of https://amehrling.com/ center, Anne Mehrling with husband John on the right and the Rooster’s wife Mary Agnes and, our trusty K-9, Benjamin Franklin after the Mehrling’s stopped by on a trip from North Carolina to Long Island, NY.
The Rooster and his wife were so appreciative to have the Mehrling’s stop by on their trip north today. We have followed Anne’s blog for a number of years, and she has followed mine. We have been known to frequently respond with comments towards each other’s writings. Although time committments didn’t allow the visit to be lenghthy, it was wonderful none the less, in meeting the person holding the pen. Well, the hand punching the keys at any rate.
I’ve grown to know the family through Ann’s Blog, as well as the growth of eight year old neighbor Logan and others who live close by. It’s simply amazing how the blogging world brings people together. This one short visit and life’s event sharing, paints the picture further and fills the gaps not said in a Blog.
Several days earlier I had mentioned to our eldest daughter of the pending visit. My daughter inquired, what we would do if they turned out to be Cereal Killers? No worry’s here I assured her. The only thing that turned out to be dead was their car. Seems the van they rode in was a rental with NY plates. Anne has written several times lately about their own van. It died on them once at a Funeral Home, (how appropriate) and, most recently needed a jump to get started. Turns out this was something I cautioned her about recently. Just yesterday she wrote in an email about their coming trip the following, “To set your mind at rest — we got a new battery for the car this morning. Yes, it helps my mind, too”. The cereal killer got the van my daughter.
So I’ll end this Blog with a most appreciative, thank you Anne and John for taking the time out of your busy schedule to vist with us. You are more than the fingers walking across the keys. We call you our friends and look forward to returning the visit, The Rooster and wife.
Don’t forget to check on the elderly.
From our house to yours, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas.