Beauty, Challenges, Life

the purpose of struggle: a parable

After composing this poem on being helpful, I explored some inspirational material I had posted years ago on my other two sites and While I meandered, I found the parable below, which has long been one of my favourites; I decided to re-share it here.


One day, as a young woman sat in her garden, she noticed a cocoon hanging from a nearby branch.

Before long, a small opening appeared in the cocoon. The woman watched for several hours as the butterfly within struggled to free itself from the envelope in which it had recently been transformed.

Then, it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could not go any further. So the woman decided to help the butterfly: she took a pair of scissors and cut open the cocoon, from which the butterfly then emerged easily. But, to the woman’s surprise, the butterfly didn’t fly away. Instead it crawled out onto the branch and sat there. As the woman looked more closely, she noticed the butterfly’s body was withered, its wings were tiny and shrivelled.

The woman continued to watch because she expected that, at any moment, the wings would open, enlarge and expand sufficiently to support the butterfly’s body. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a withered body and shrivelled wings. It never was able to fly…

What the woman, in her kindness and her goodwill did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening, were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need.


even in prison there’s space between the bars

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