I decided to put the habitats up in the closet and wait until April.
About two and a half weeks ago, our insects arrived.
It's difficult to take pictures of itty bitty caterpillars and even smaller larvae. The ladybugs have been really interesting to watch but the butterflies...they've been fascinating.
We were sent five caterpillars. For some reason one was much tinier than the others. The first four all grew at about the same rate and, after about nine days, two of them crawled up to the top and made a chrysalis. The next day, the other two followed. I transferred them into the butterfly enclosure, cleaned out their excrement, and left the fifth caterpillar to eat himself to oblivion on the leftover food. I'm hoping that he'll make a chrysalis and I'll be able to transfer him into the enclosure after we've released the others.
Yesterday, just as I was walking out the door to head to church, I realized that we had a butterfly! I'd been eagerly anticipating these painted ladies since December so I was really excited to see one. Of course, the boys were thrilled as well.
When we got home from church there were two more butterflies. We're still waiting on number four. Its reluctant to emerge, apparently.
This process has been so much more incredible and rewarding than I ever thought possible. In a little short of three weeks, I've watched a faith affirming transformation. It isn't that I needed caterpillars to remind me that I serve an awesome God but it certainly hasn't hurt. How anyone can look at metamorphosis and question an almighty Creator is completely beyond my comprehension.
First we started with these fuzzy, crawling, worm-like creatures. They had a bunch of sticky little feet. They were black. They ate and ate and ate. Then, instinct led them to the top of the cup. They hung upside down and twisted their bodies into a shape resembling a J. Within a day, they were hard and waxy looking. They resembled neither a caterpillar or a butterfly. They were in transition, vulnerable, changing. Yesterday they emerged. Gone were the feet. Instead, long legs. Gone was the worm-like body. Instead, vibrant wings. It took nine days. Nine days to undergo a complete transformation. Forget the miracle of human life. Forget the miracle of a gorgeous landscape. Forget all the huge, in your face, proof of God. As far as I'm concerned, it only takes a butterfly.
Furthermore, they serve as such a beautiful example of what we can be if we let the Lord work in our life. We begin as a simple fuzzy caterpillar. We go through life, consuming. Something, who's to say what, compels us to search for more. Instinct? A still small voice? We try to find more. We try to fill the God sized hole. We take a leap, securing ourselves to the top of the cup even though we don't have a clue why we're doing it. We've never done it before. We've never known that there was so much more waiting for us. We've never known that God was waiting to do a complete transformation in our lives. We suspend. Caught. Between being a caterpillar and being a butterfly. And God changes us.
We emerge. We are different. Better. We're a great many colors. We've grown. We're no longer recognizable. There is no going back into the chrysalis. There is no turning back into a caterpillar. We can still walk, as before. We can still climb. But now we can fly.