The words, “witness butterfly metamorphosis at
Home,” leapt off the educational catalog into my imagination last April, our first month of the pandemic. We had begun homeschooling and I impulsively decided we should get a butterfly garden. It was the end of a long winter, and our house felt small now that we three occupied the space twenty-four hours a day. My partner, however, was not thrilled about adding caterpillars to our household. “You want to raise insects?” I said it would be educational, and there would be butterflies.
We were stuck. So, I wanted to watch something grow, become something new, and then be released. I needed a reminder of predictable life cycles. How hard could it be to raise butterflies?
Each night we would place the butterfly garden angled just so in the window, to catch the morning light. It turns out that becoming a butterfly requires sunlight. We did get to “witness metamorphosis at home.” Sometimes it was really gross. Once it was almost tragic, the cat’s fascination took flight and the chrysalis got knocked around. The experience was filled with unexpected drama and fear of failure. Yet ultimately, worth it. The daily shared experience of observing the transformation was salve for our stuck nature loving souls. Each chrysalis that hatched felt like a miracle.
Scientist and religious naturalist Ursula Goodenough wisely tells us: “Emergence, (the act of becoming) is inherent in everything that is alive, allowing our yearning for supernatural miracles to be subsumed by our joy in the countless miracles that surround us.”
One of the joys of having children in your life is witnessing them explore their intention of becoming. As we get older, our unfolding is not always visible or recognized. Perhaps, becoming is just more internal during adulthood. Yet, emergence is inherent and continual in each of us, growing and changing throughout our lifetime. Too often we forget how miraculous we are. The sheer improbability of our existence escapes us and we need butterfly garden shaped reminders to pay attention. Thank goodness that there are small miracles surrounding us, especially in spring.
This season, may you be filled with the intention of becoming and plenty of reminders.
Rev. Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson
Minister of Religious Education