Caterpillars and Butterflies

We can change! Photo by Cindy Gustafson.

What raises the crawling caterpillar
Above the common plain,
Allowing her to soar above
And lofty heights obtain?

‘Tis a trying transformation
To which she must submit
Before the greater glory
She can ever hope to get.

For only by her choosing
To lay her old self by
Will she change and then become
A gorgeous butterfly.


I remember learning about caterpillars becoming butterflies.  It was amazing to me.  This fat, squirmy, crawly, worm-like thing turns into a delicate beautiful butterfly?  In my innocent, little-boy mind it was a question of wonder, not disbelief, for this was before my doubting days.

Growing up, my siblings and I found several caterpillars in cocoons one day in a row of beans in the garden.  We carefully took cuttings of the bean plants with the cocoons still attached and placed them in mason jars with holes poked in the lids.  We put the jars in a prominent place in our bedroom where they could be inspected frequently.  Days passed with no activity.  Then one morning we noticed a butterfly flying around in the glass jar!  Upon careful inspection, another was just emerging.  We took the jars out to the garden and carefully released the beauties into a big new world.  It was the same world, yes, but yet new.  Fly little butterflies, fly!

I have thought about caterpillars and butterflies many times in the years since.  I was thinking about them today at church when this poem came to mind.  For today is Easter Sunday, the day all Christendom celebrates Christ’s victory over death.  But it is more than that.  The resurrection was the culmination of the “great and last sacrifice”, the atonement of Christ (Alma 34: 8-18).  Through the atoning blood of Christ, we can become clean and holy, without spot.  Because of Him, wrongs can be made right.  Because of Him we can be born again.  Because of Him, we, like caterpillars, can be transformed.

Because of Him, we can fly!

Written: April 16, 2017

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