Whenever things don’t seem to work out for us, we can always count on someone to chime in with, “That season has ended.” Or how about, “There is a season for everything”, and don’t forget, “People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”
No matter which phrase you use, one thing is for sure: the seasons change.
Spring has always been my favorite season. For most, it’s the beautiful weather and flowers in bloom, but for me it’s butterflies. They symbolize change and transformation. “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly,” Maya Angelou said, “but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
Life is full of changes, both big and small, that can have a dramatic impact on our lives. We may view them as positive or negative, but ultimately they shape us. The life cycle of a butterfly is an excellent example of this—that transformation is inevitable. Despite its fragile appearance, a butterfly is a hardy creature with the strength and resilience to survive in ever-changing environments. As winter ends and spring approaches, I think about how my life is no different from that of a butterfly.
We experience different stages throughout our lives, some of which are easier to navigate than others. Young adulthood brings a sense of independence as we establish our career paths and build relationships outside our families. This is where the transformation begins. I think back to my caterpillar days. In 2003, I graduated from Xavier University as a Doctor of Pharmacy at age 23. Since I didn’t leave the state or home for college, this would be my formal introduction to the “real” world. Throughout this decade, I entered my first long-term relationship, lost everything (including myself) in Hurricane Katrina, and moved to Texas to start over.
By 31, I returned to New Orleans, left a toxic relationship, and changed jobs. Reflecting on this pivotal time in my life, it was my chrysalis stage. I entered my cocoon, where family and friends surrounded me. It was my safe space. This decade was filled with new responsibilities that were both rewarding and challenging. After several lessons on patience, I met my late husband and had my first child at 35. Together we navigated life and were hopeful about what the next decade would bring.
Most of us are familiar with the image of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, but the life cycle of a butterfly is much more complex than just that iconic transformation. It goes through many changes to become the beautiful creature we see. Just as I would go through my own metamorphosis—from a young pharmacist to a new mom to a young widow. And as I spread my wings, my husband would also spread his and leave me here with a young child. This was the major transformation God was preparing me for.
But change is an inevitable part of the journey—no matter what stage of life we are in. Anxiously, I said goodbye to my 30’s and welcomed 40 with open arms. Something about this year just felt different. I was secure in who I was and knew where I was going. I emerged from that chrysalis a Grown Woman!
The woman I was before I entered that chrysalis would not have been able to survive my current environment. The butterfly escapes its cocoon by cracking the hard shell. I needed every experience, both good and bad, to shape me into the woman I am today.
As spring approaches, look for the butterflies. When you see them, think about how resilient they are…and ask yourself: What stage of this lifecycle am I in? Let me know in the comments.