Thursday, May 27, 2010

While the cat is away... (by Judy)

... I will blog again! (can you find the subject of this blog in the photo?)

In my growing role at school as the manager of our farmstead, I have become the repository of articles, jokes, and books. If it has to do with growing things, both animal and vegetable, people think, Oh, I’ll bet Judy would like this – and it appears on my desk. So it was no surprise when someone sent me a butterfly joke by email. But as I read it, I thought – this is a perfect blog entry!

Two caterpillars are sitting happily on a log. They look up and see a butterfly float by overhead. One turns to the other and says, “No way you’ll ever catch me up on one of those things.” I can imagine them grinning at each other, and continuing to chew a leaf, ignorant of the process of metamorphosis and the fact that soon they themselves will be soaring.

I was once that caterpillar. I was happy in my grounded life. I watched people head off to worship each Sunday, as I drank my second cup of coffee and dug deeper into the New York Times. I had a collection of Bibles gathering dust on my shelf, though I delighted in the heritage of strong Christian ancestors which they represented. I took pride in my Episcopal background, and deeply loved allowing the familiar cadences of the Book of Common Prayer roll over me. Churches and cathedrals represented the highest of architectural design, stained glass beauty, and acoustical harmony.

Then, when I was fifty years old, something happened. I can’t explain it. I changed. I couldn’t get enough Bible study. Sunday mornings (and evenings) at church were the highlight of my week. I listened to Christian music as I commuted to work. It was not a result of my good works, holy attitude or deep study. Trying to explain it was like trying to explain where the wind would next blow. Jesus says to the seeker Nicodemus, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." Go figure. Try and explain that one!

There is one thing for sure. I would never want to go back. And I have to think that soaring butterfly feels the same way when she looks down and sees two earthbound caterpillars watching her from their low point on the log. I am eternally grateful for that inexplicable wind, called the Spirit. The apostle Paul used to drive me crazy when I was a caterpillar. I didn’t understand his passion. Now when I read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” I know he was speaking from personal experience, as I am today.


  1. Yes I did find it (after I cheated and enlarged the picture!). A couple of years ago I had my front yard re-landscaped, and one of the benefits is watching the butterflies, birds and even the bees enjoying the various plants & trees. When I was working I hadn't much time to watch God's creatures, now I'm really enjoying them, and better yet, enjoying Him!

  2. Oh, you are so right, Carole! And another thing - by watching God's creatures, as well as enjoying Him, we learn so much about Him... and also about He expects us to behave.

  3. The butterfly is easy to see, even if it weren't in the picture. The butterfly is YOU and all of us who have been born of the Spirit. "The old has gone, the new has come." and we can thank God in His mercy and grace, that He loves His little caterpillers enough to make them butterflies!