“If it weren’t for change, there wouldn’t be butterflies.” These were words a camper shared with me when I was a summer camp counselor. Her home congregation was going through several transitions, and this was wisdom her pastor had shared as a way to encourage them along the way.
To those going through change, however– especially change that they did not seek out or foresee– words like these can sound like little more than the platitude that it is. Pleasant and true enough, yet devoid of any substance to truly help you in your time of need.
Yet, if we’re willing to sit with whatever discomfort or dis-ease a particular change evokes within us long enough, there is a sense of comfort and peace, and even inspiration and promise, that can emerge related to the words to which that camper had been clinging. “If it weren’t for change, there wouldn’t be butterflies.”
I’ve been reflecting on this a lot lately. At various times throughout the last few weeks and months, I have reminded myself that with change, comes opportunity. That doesn’t mean figuring out a new sense of normal, or a different way of moving forward, is easy or simple, but it does mean that there are opportunities to grow, to prune what isn’t working ( read Pastor Ben’s devotion about that here), and to make sure we are living according to the values we profess.
When it comes to seeing the beauty and the sense of possibility in change, our family has had quite the opportunity lately. Family friends of ours have been on vacation, and while they are gone we have had the chance to care for their chrysalises. When we got them, several were close to emerging, and it has been an incredible experience to watch this change take place. So far, we have released ten monarchs, and there are several others on their way.
Seeing the monarch emerge and then releasing it into the world is a sight to behold. It is also a wonderful reminder that God is the author of all that is good, right, and beautiful and has good things in store for us. And when we feel unnerved by a lack of control at the changes happening around us, it is also a good reminder that what the psalmist wrote in Psalm 27 holds true: “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (So) Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!“