I’ve been spending more time reading with my children since I’ve been working from home these past couple of months. I’ve always enjoyed reading to them, and having them read to me, but we’ve had more opportunities, and we are loving it. They each have their own interests and favorites. Caroline (8) and I are in the middle of Anne of Green Gables. About 2 chapters in, she began to realize that she and Anne have similar personalities – which is an understatement. Jack (6) loves books about science where he can learn “real” things. We’ve been reading a book about teeth – if your two front teeth fell out, and they were replaced with animal teeth, what would that be like? The book walks through about 10 creature’s teeth drawn into children’s mouths, and its hilarious and also truly educational. He decided he’d like to have Bengal tiger teeth, but is completely fine with the adult human teeth that are slowly making a presence in his gap-toothed mouth. Wyatt (3) goes through phases of wanting the same book read over and over again. Lately he’s been stuck on The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and it has gotten me thinking.
I must have read The Very Hungry Caterpillar over 100 times. It’s a classic, and a staple in most kids’ home libraries. It’s a wonderful theme in our preschool rooms and has inspired lots of creative crafts. Caroline was the caterpillar for her first Halloween – before she could even sit independently. So, the other night as I read this book to Wyatt, again, and again, I started thinking about life sheltering in place. As the story goes, the caterpillar hatches, and begins its journey eating everything in sight. Eventually, the caterpillar is no longer hungry, but becomes a big fat caterpillar! (Wyatt’s favorite page – he giggles) So, the caterpillar eats through a nice green leaf on Sunday, and makes a cocoon for itself. He stays inside for 2 weeks and then slowly breaks his way through and becomes a beautiful butterfly! Wyatt and I have a little game we play. Sometimes I intentionally read the book incorrectly. I change characters names (Clifford becomes Claudia, The Itsy Bitsy Spider becomes the chicken nugget, etc.) in the books, and it’s always good for a belly laugh. So, as the anticipation builds in the book and we slowly turn the page to reveal what pops out of the cocoon, sometimes I say “It becomes…a….beautiful….SNAKE!” (Or, really any animal that pops into my mind in the moment) After laughing at my corny joke, Wyatt yells – “No!! It’s a BOOOTIFUL BUTTERFY!” Oh yeah, you’re right. It’s not a snake! It IS a beautiful butterfly.
I feel like, in many ways, those of us who have been privileged enough to shelter in place and stay at home, have been wrapped in cocoons. Social and physical distancing has created this environment where things have slowed down a bit, and it has given us time to consider the meaning of our lives and what truly matters. It’s given us time to do some soul searching, and seek God’s face. It has been far more than 2 weeks, so we are more resilient than the big fat caterpillar. Yet, I wonder what we will become when we finally start to work our way out of our cocoons and break free from all that binds us because of this terrible virus. What will we become? I certainly don’t want to be a snake. I want to be a beautiful butterfly.
Hebrews 4: 11-16
Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs. Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account. Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.