When he was a small boy, he had loved butterflies. Oh, not to net and

mount them, but to wonder at their designs and habits.

Now a grown man with his first son to be born in a few weeks, he found

himself once again fascinated with a cocoon. He had found it at the side

of the park path. Somehow the twig had been knocked from the tree and

the cocoon had survived undamaged and still woven to the branch.

As he had seen his mother do, he gently protected it by wrapping it in

his handkerchief and carried it home. The cocoon found a temporary home

in a wide-top mason jar with holes in the lid. The jar was placed on the

mantle for easy viewing and protection from their curious cat who would

delight in volleying the sticky silk between her paws.

The man watched. His wife’s interest lasted only a moment, but he studied

the silky envelope. Almost imperceptibly at first, the cocoon moved. He

watched more closely and soon the cocoon was trembling with activity.

Nothing else happened. The cocoon remained tightly glued to the twig and

there was no sign of wings.

Finally the shaking became so intense, the man thought the butterfly would

die from the struggle. He removed the lid on the jar, took a sharp pen

knife from his desk drawer, and carefully made a tiny slit in the side

of the cocoon. Almost immediately, one wing appeared and then outstretched

the other. The butterfly was free!

It seemed to enjoy its freedom and walked along the edge of the mason jar

and along the edge of the mantle. But it didn’t fly. At first the man

thought the wings needed time to dry, but time passed and still the

butterfly did not take off.

The man was worried and called up his neighbor who taught high school

science. He told the neighbor how he had found the cocoon, placed it in

the mason jar, and the terrible trembling as the butterfly struggled to

get out. When he described how he had carefully made a small slit in the

cocoon, the teacher stopped him. “Oh, that is the reason. You see, the

struggle is what gives the butterfly the strength to fly.”

And so it is with us. Sometimes it’s the struggles in life that strengthen

us the most.

Author Unknown

Posted in Thought of the Week.