Monday, September 29, 2008

The Parable of the Butterfly

As you can tell, I am concerned about the current debate over the definition of marriage in our society. I am worried that we, as a nation, may be willing to sacrifice the great social patterns that have guided the lives of countless generations on the altar of personal fulfillment and choice. Where will our children look to find a pattern for their own lives? This little parable came to my mind. Like all parables it is imperfect, but I believe it contains a grain of truth. Read it and tell me what you think!

Through the long summer days, butterflies flittered over the meadow. The sun glinted off bits of white, yellow, blue or orange wings. Below, amid crisp stalks and tender leaves of the meadow plants, the caterpillars crept. Moving from leaf to leaf, from plant to plant, they ate the good food the meadow provided. They watched the butterflies flitting in the air above, landing here or there on a flower, and talked amongst themselves of the day when they two would fly on bright wings through the air and drink the sweet flower nectar. Here and there among the plant stems were the quiet crysalids, the caterpillars that had already begun their process of transformation. They rested quietly in the shadows, and the swayed in the soft breezes, and dreamed of floating through the blue skies.
One day, a caterpillar was inching along toward a juicy looking nettle stalk, when a beetle crossed it's path.
Hello! said the caterpillar. I'm on my way to eat some nettle leaves. I'm growing as fast as I can so that one day I can be a buttrfly!
Why, said the beetle, then you'll be just like me!
The caterpillar was puzzled. But you're not a butterfly! butterflies have large colorful wing, they flit through the sky and sip flower nectar. I am sure they do not crawl on the ground with hard cases on their backs!
But the beetle insisted. I am a butterfly. See, I have an official certificate to prove it! And the beetle held up an impressive looking document with official seals and signatures, certifying that he was indeed a butterfly.
Now the caterpillar was confused. If this creature was a butterfly, then what were the bright-winged folk flying up among the flower tops? And what was he? When his caterpillar days were ended, when he entered the great transformation, what would he become? Troubled, he continued on his way among the green stems that now seemed less friendly.
Days passed; now the caterpillar was fat and full. His skin stretched tight. He climbed high, found a spot that seemed secure, and spun the sticky threads that would attach him securely. It was time for the change. His old skin dropped away and he hung silent, his outer shell giving now clue of the transformation taking place inside. Changes were occuring, but the caterpillars dreams were troubled. Mixed with images of sailing on bright wings through the sky were images of scampering heavy-backed on the dark earth. At last the transformation was complete. The one-time caterpillar shed it crysalid shell and emerged trembling into the sunlight. It waited, gaining strength, and spread its wings to the wind. But oh! Something was not right. The butterfly hung from its perch, fluttering wings that were misformed and crippled. The butterfly-that-should be could not fly. The dark confusion he had taken with him into the crysalid had warped his transformation. Without a clear idea of what he was to be, his growth had been stunted. With wings that would never lift him to soar through the skies, the butterfly fluttered awkwardly to the ground.


Karene said...

That's a sad story...I see your point! I especially like how you addressed the issue of how "expanding the definition" just creates confusion.

Kelley said...

Hmm, that's a pretty good parable. I really liked how you illustrated the problems stemming from confusion, especially in how the butterfly's future growth and development was stunted by that confusion.