Getting Your Strength

By Rev. Paul N. Papas II
MetroWest Daily News
Posted May 07, 2010 @ 11:13 AM
Springtime is an annual event many people look forward to. The warmer temperatures bring out the buds on trees and flowers. A special fragrance hits the air. For many it is a time of relief from a cold hard winter with a hope of better times to come.

You may have heard the story of the man who found a cocoon of a butterfly.

One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly, he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man in his haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening was designed to force fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom form the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. We learn from struggles and obstacles. We actually are stronger and more prepared for life by facing our obstacles head on. If we went through life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would never be as strong as we could have been. We could never fly.

Every person has been given talents. Every person has a purpose.

Over-protective parents are actually harming their children by not allowing them to grow through social interactions and situations. A child that is prevented from having friends or prevented from having their friends visit and play together is in danger of not learning to fly.

The child that has not learned to fly will not do well later in life and could spend a lot of time in therapy trying to repair the damage. The damage could lead the person into depression, anxiety, a fear of people, or becoming a danger to himself or others.

When a woman is prevented from having friends or prevented from visiting their friends by a man, we call him abusive and assist her in obtaining a restraining order. She often needs various protections from this abusive man. There are times when the abusive man is given a jail sentence to serve. The abused woman faces long-term therapy as a result of being abused.

It is likely that the man was abused when he was young. It is possible that the man did not learn how to fly when he was young.

If you catch a butterfly in flight, hold on loosely and release him.

Just like a butterfly we grow better with struggles and by overcoming obstacles. We become stronger flyers when we’ve been given many opportunities to flap our wings.

We all need guidance, direction and assistance throughout life. Children learn better when given the opportunity to think for themselves, try and fail. Failures bring many opportunities for success, at any age.

The Rev. Paul N. Papas II is a pastoral counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (Massachusetts and Arizona) and the founder of the Family Renewal Center. and


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