March 27, 2020
“In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf….” -Eric Carle
The Little Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is one of the books that I loved reading to my kids when they were little.
“One sunday morning the warm sun came up and -pop! – out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.”
The caterpillar in the story is so simple and has no idea of what the future will bring. It is born hungry and spends most of its time eating and crawling around. A simple life. One would argue maybe even insignificant. You wonder if it even thinks about the future. It just goes through life until one day….
“He built a small house, called a cocoon, around himself. He stayed inside for more than two weeks. “
You wonder what goes on in the mind of a caterpillar in this moment. Is it scared? Does it think that life is over? Does it think that it is dead? I imagine that all of these uncertainties and fears can be extraordinarily frightening for a little caterpillar. Yet, we all know how the story ends,
“Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out and… he was a beautiful butterfly!”
The story of the Little Caterpillar is a story of change and of hope. The only thing ever guaranteed in this life is change. Nothing ever stays the same. This is true for all of us. Most of us, like the little caterpillar, go through life hungry for a deeper meaning of why but all the while feeling small or insignificant. A small voice in the howling winds. Perhaps afraid to take chances on becoming who we know in our hearts we want to be.
So we build walls around us and we stay in there for weeks, months or even years, afraid. Comfortable in our cocoon. Afraid to evolve, and frightened of the unknown. What a shame to be the caterpillar that stays in the cocoon. It will never know how beautiful it can be.
So as we face the coming days of uncertainty and fear in our cocoons, I hope that we will use this time like the caterpillar and transform into our best selves with hope for better tomorrows. I hope that we can all become the butterflies we were always meant to be.
Share with a friend! Together we are stronger!
Elizabeth Vainder, M.D.