chrysalis (& metamorphosis)

Will amazes me. Two years old, and at times he shows no fear at all – he’ll launch himself toward me in the pool, even though he can’t swim; he’ll dive across a gap (or chasm!) trusting me to catch him; he’ll run off alone. (Other times, of course, he can’t take two steps without mommy or daddy…)

Bishop Gregory Palmer, in his sermon in the final worship of this year’s annual conference – the 25th session of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference, full of celebration of the anniversary (and the subtle expectation that we will not exist in this configuration beyond 2012) – encouraged us with three words to remember: Abundance (there is enough for all of us), Joy, Courage.

Great words of assurance, and challenge. Particularly the third – “courage.” I mean, if I were in Oz, I’d be the one with the tail and the weird speech impediment. I’m not the most courageous, or bold, of individuals. Or pastors

Not that I want a pity party or anything. But I’ve been thinking…

I long for the equivalent of a caterpillar’s chrysalis. You know, when the caterpillar enters the cocoon for a time, shuffles around inside, and eventually breaks forth as a butterfly. Utter metamorphosis: a complete and radical transformation.

Chrysalis comes from Greek, and is related to the Greek word for “gold” – which, according to Wikipedia (that utterly trustworthy bastion of knowledge), is because butterfly cocoons often have a gold shimmer.

Scripture tells us that to be refined, gold has to go through the fire. For a caterpillar to be transformed, it has to enter a lengthy period that may appear to outside eyes to be still and fallow but is clearly difficult.

So what might the equivalent be for me?

I don’t know that I have an answer, but I do know that the reality is I probably wouldn’t readily choose it on my own. Discipline, change, and their related pains – physical, emotional, mental – are never easy.

My hope is that if I am not stumbling toward some form of chrysalis at this moment – and a part of me hopes that my involvement in the Two Year Academy For Spiritual Growth may serve as such – that I will find the right set of circumstances to go through the radical transformation I think I need. That I desire, even if I might not desire the necessary means to that end…

As I’ve ruminated before, I desire purity of heart. I would like to be more courageous, more bold.

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