I teach preschool right now; more specifically a 4-5 year olds kindergarten prep class. As it is springtime, we have decided to get some caterpillars and teach the children about the life cycle of butterflies. As it turns out, I have learned more about life from these dirty bugs than the children have!
For a few weeks the caterpillars live in this little cup [obviously in nature they don't live in cups, but you must improvise for the classroom], eating aphids all day long and getting fat in preparation for their change.
One day, we went into the classroom and the little guys had started making their cocoons! They worked all day long, and by the next morning they had cozied up in their cocoons. And, despite what all the cute little books about caterpillars and butterflies says, they are not adorable little cocoons. In fact, they gave me the willies every time I walked by them. They looked like a ball of puss stuck to the lid of the jar.
So, after they all became complete cocoons, we put them in a butterfly tent. They lived in there for about a week, just stuck to the side of the tent. One poor guy started coming out of his cocoon too early. Just as he spread his beautiful wings for the first time, he fell to the bottom of the tent and died. It was sad, he was only half formed and was all bloody.
The next day, the rest of the butterflies began to emerge. At the end of the day, I walked the kids to the tent, one at a time, so they could see the new butterflies. One little girl didn't even notice the beautiful wings or the furry heads. All she saw was the blood on the side of the tent. You see, when the butterflies come out of the cocoon they bleed, a lot. So each spot that had held a cocoon now had a spot of blood about the size of a quarter. It was gross, to be honest. But it did teach me a valuable lesson about the process.
We are all in process. Dang it. I want to arrive, but like the first butterfly, I must wait for the process to do it's work. I can't just decide that today I am fully sanctified.
Also, the process isn't pretty. I am pretty, sure, but the process of my heart being transformed into the image of Christ is not always so lovely. There is some serious junk in my heart that has to be dealt with and just like the butterflies, I need to bleed a little before I can become my new person.
I think all the kids learned was that Ms. Amy is mean for not letting them play with the butterflies.