I was thinking of my friend and mentor, Mac Smith, yesterday. He loved butterflies all the way to the end of his long and beautiful life.
On one of my last visits with him he showed me around his yard and pointed out the caterpillars he was feeding and observing as they would soon metamorphose into butterflies.
He saw the process as one that showed us as humans the difficult path we need to take as a whole in order to continue to exist on this planet, and one that also pointed to our individual transformation we each experience through our life cycle.
He explained with enthusiasm that the caterpillar once signaled by the absence of juvenile cells, turns in and digests itself completely from the inside. Imaginal discs are the only cells that survive this process.
I love the name of these cells: Imaginal! Eventually these cells multiply and become the emerging butterfly.
I thought of Mac this Easter, thinking of the resurrection story and Jesus and new life.
We often associate the pinks and yellows of the season, feeling all sweet and wonderful, BUT like any metamorphosis, we know this is not what’s real. There’s little that is sweet and gentle in this story.
It takes everthing to dissolve. This leap into the unknown is not necessarily pleasant like a baby bunny, and we often don’t have much of a choice.
Maybe what’s really amazing is that somewhere within we may have something that works like imaginal disc cells and these are ready and what will emerge will be different. I like this about the Jesus story. The resurrection was experienced by his friends in community. It wasn’t something that happened in isolation. Maybe there’s a clue there for where the imaginal disc cells can be found.
Happy Easter, everyone!