“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” ~Charles R. Swindoll
Ever noticed a chrysalis hidden within its cocoon? The final few moments before it emerges as a butterfly compose what science terms as metamorphosis, a transformation.
If you have been lucky enough to observe this process, which I highly recommend watching, you’d notice it has to struggle quite a bit before it gets all the attention for being the magnificent creature it is.
It’s long and painful. However, while watching it, you may be tempted to clip off the outer covering of the chrysalis with a pair of scissors. And you might do it, thinking you’re doing it a favor. But when it finally emerges, you’d be sorely disappointed.
The chrysalis’ covering holds within its shell vital fluids that are important to its wing formation. But your act of kindness, of clipping that outer shell deprives it of that, and as a result, the butterfly that emerges is crippled, deformed, and nothing like the butterfly it was supposed to be.
On the other hand, if you can muster up the patience to watch this metamorphosis take place, without any intervention from your side, you’ll see one of the most beautiful miracles of nature, and one of life’s best lessons.
Our lives are journeys to this same type of metamorphosis, to find a sense of purpose in life. We cannot achieve this without the difficult situations or the pain that life often brings in generous doses.
Each one of us has had to let go of a dream, compromise, and experience pain and the entire gamut of emotions that an undesirable change can bring. But by no means did it ever spell the end of all dreams.
I graduated from law school with big dreams to help the world, to fight for justice, and to make a difference with my education, because I considered myself fortunate to have had an academic training— unlike the millions of other kids who haven’t had a chance to study at all.
I joined the non-profit sector with high hopes and zero expectations of financial rewards, because all I wanted was to make a difference. But life had other plans, as it always does.
Eight months down the line, I quit my job over the lack of work ethics. I couldn’t stand to compromise my principles, or to allow myself to be manipulated for what I held to be good and true. That was the end of a long cherished dream. It was a difficult decision because it certainly didn’t look good on a resume!
My family was disappointed with me, and when you don’t have the support of your loved ones at times like this, it hurts. I knew I had broken their dreams in the process, too, but I had to stand up for what I believed in. The weight of their expectations—and my own—was too much to carry. I had barely started my career when it ended. (Or so I thought at the time.)
And yet, in those eight months, I learned everything I possibly could about the field I had chosen because I was passionate about it (and the learning continues). All was not lost. I could still try for another job or back up and try something else.
I always had a flair for writing and editing. I loved the English language and all the nuances associated with it, so I was entrusted two manuscripts for editing that I'd religiously try to complete in my free time.
In the time after I quit my job, I took my editing work on the manuscripts a lot more seriously. And quite suddenly I had a realization about what I was supposed to do—I felt liberated me from all the anxiety and stress I was feeling regarding my future career plans.
I quickly drew up a plan of the options I could explore. Self-employment was beginning to look like an attractive option, and I was excited by the possibility of making the best use of my creativity, talents, and varied interests.
Today my heart is at peace because I am doing something I enjoy and staying true to my heart’s calling. I didn’t realize it before, but this is the metamorphosis I was headed to all along—I just needed to allow myself time to emerge.
The seemingly “impossible situation” of quitting a career that barely took off might have plunged me into the deep abyss of hopelessness; but looking back now, I remember the chrysalis going through the struggle to emerge as the beautiful creature its meant to be.
If you stay true to your conscience and live your life the way you believe it should be, you can be rest assured of this:
Every bad experience, painful relationship, and compromise you’ve ever made in good conscience will somehow transform into a beautiful inner reservoir of spiritual gifts and blessings.
Life wants you to take notice of three things when you’re going through a difficult time that may seem eternal:
Trust life. There’s a higher purpose behind every seemingly impossible and difficult phase. You’ve just got to hang in there and know that it’s for the best.
Change. If you find yourself feeling bad a lot more often than not, take time out to reflect on whether or not you’re happy deep down with what you’re doing.
Believe. Believe in yourself, even if the world around you doesn’t. If you don’t, who will?
Hold onto what you believe in. You’re meant to emerge as a beautiful butterfly from your chrysalis. Always remember that, with a smile, and give yourself a chance to delight and revel in the mysterious workings of the universe.
Photo by Tiago J. G. Fernandez