For nine straight days, our caterpillar dangled in his chrysalis inside of a Tupperware container. The container, like the caterpillar, sat motionless on our kitchen counter -- except for the time when I bumped it while taking dishes out of the dishwasher.
And the time when a child slid it precariously to the edge while piling books onto the countertop.
And the time when another child knocked the container onto the ground, causing it to roll and spin like a quarter that had been flicked, finally falling to the ground in unnerving silence.
I used a strip of Scotch tape to adhere the chrysalis back to the top of the container, partially marveling at the absurdity of merging office supplies with the process of metamorphosis, but mostly suspecting that he was a goner.
Does a chrysalis recover from a fall? Staring at it gave no indication. Its hardened shell revealed nothing.
My daughter took the container back to school, and there it remained, day after day, in suspended animation. I imagined one week passing, then two, then three, and her entire class slowly realizing that the butterfly never would emerge.
Yet it did emerge.
This afternoon, I listened as my daughter recounted the entire process in painstaking, halting detail -- how she carried the container outside with her classmates for the official release, how her teacher gently prodded it to fly, how the butterfly landed on her friend's shirt, how her friend had screamed, how the butterfly finally flew in the direction of the tallest pine tree on the playground.
And as I listened, I wanted to cry. Because how many times do I think that I've dropped something, peering at it and wondering if there's any chance for resurrection, all the while God is working something amazing on the inside? Something that I can't currently see, something that will take time to unfold and be revealed.
Something like the fact that my three kids -- despite all the bumps and falls and failures along the way -- are going to eventually unfold their wings, and I'm eventually going to watch them fly.
Image compliments of Dave Govoni (flickr.com)