Many people use this amazing creation as a sign of breaking-out from previous ways of believing or behaving (it’s Al-Anon’s symbol). Then, the image fades. We each have ‘wormy’ parts of life when we feel that all we can do is crawl around, survive on what’s known, and insulate ourselves against threats. When we exit our comfort zone (whatever binds) and take risks, we feel free, and flight seems unlimited once our wings have dried. No one can free us of that temporarily-needed safe environment. We must choose to breakout and take the necessary steps to fly. If someone would remove the butterfly’s cocoon, it couldn’t fly. It needs both the cocoon and the struggle to get out in order to grow into a more mature, magnificent masterpiece. We do also.
At our present age, we’re a lot like this lovely creature. We’ve outgrown previous stages and have begun to fly. What’s next? Is this where the image stops? Both we and the butterfly are powerless over growing older. The butterfly seems delighted with it’s maturing and adapts to a fresh way of living in new-found freedom; it accepted what it couldn’t change, and changed what it could by not giving up. Sounds like Step One in AA, doesn’t it? There is a parallel. Until we accept all stages in our life’s journey as needed for maturing, and relish our present age, we’ll never be able to change what we can, move on, and develop more wholly into a wise, life-giving adult.
Wisdom takes effort, merely aging doesn’t. Growing older, making mistakes and learning from them builds wisdom. This lived wisdom is what we can pass on to others to enable them to discover their own. This is essential to our legacy.
The symbol of the developing butterfly offers insights. How? After the butterfly emerges it generates new life and flits around just being beautiful. As it does, it touches flowers. It picks up pollen from one and deposits it on the next, causing it to become more lovely; brushing that one does the same for the next. Life picked up from one flower is shared with the next because of the butterfly’s slight contact.
If the butterfly could speak, it might say:
“I was powerless over changing from a caterpillar, to a protective cocoon, to the pain I felt as I gave up that refuge by pushing and wiggling out of it. I really hated to give up what I knew for the unknown. But, I’m overjoyed that I changed what I could. I kept struggling. I helped a resurrection happen, and wow! I never could have dreamed what God had in store for me. I hate to think what would have happened if I’d stayed where I was! I would have missed the best part of my life! Think of all the flowers which would have been less beautiful, or dried up and withered, if I had not pollinated them. What a glorious gift God gave me. I’m elated that I changed what I could. I kept thriving, not just surviving.
If I, a mere butterfly, can accept things I can’t change, and struggle to change things I can, how much more-so you? My soul (life principle) can (1) take nutrition and give life; (2) have locomotion and move around at will; and (3) use my senses and instinct.
But you! Your soul, your life principle, empowers you with the three abilities I have and more! You have two other soul-qualities I can’t share: (1) the power to think and imagine; and (2) the ability to desire and decide, and then to will freely and to make choices freely based on your desiring and deciding. Further, your soul is permeated with your spirit, where God lives, and is eternal. The resiliency of your human spirit is incredible and magnificent. You must choose to let it emerge.
This God-energy enables you to grow older gracefully by using all five powers to make the world a better place in which to live. Simply be your best; pollinate the world with God’s love through yours. What incredible potential.
Choose life, accept what you can’t change; change what you can because of God’s radiant life within you. God always has a life-generating dream for you at each new stage of life: a God dream. I found mine; you have only to discover yours with prayer, God’s grace and Christ’s help. You’ll rejoice with gratitude knowing that all apparent obstacles were and are actually disguised opportunities. Now: go fly!”
And so, what’s your magnetic God-dream? How can you use it to fly and pollinate the world? As you grow older, is your spotlight on grow, or older?
SR. ANGELITA M. FENKER, 83, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. Born in Fort Wayne, Sr. Angelita was a religious Sister and educator with various educational and ecumenical organizations in the U.S and Canada for 60 years, retiring in 2007.
She started her ministry in 1947, earned Bachelors degrees in education and family studies from University of Saint Francis and Purdue University. She was an elementary teacher, principal and director of religious education in Missouri, Louisiana and Indiana. She earned her Masters degree in education administration from Marquette University. From 1973 to 1990, served as the National Associate Director of Families for Prayer, Inc, of Albany, N.Y. During this time, she also earned her doctorate degree in spirituality and family spirituality from the Graduate Theological Foundation.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.