When a butterfly enters the world from its chrysalis, there are some things that need to go right in order for it to survive. First, the wings need to get out, allowing its legs to push itself free from the shell of the chrysalis. Second, the wings need to air out and dry, so the butterfly needs to spend some time being undisturbed to allow the wings to unfurl and become strong and dry.
Four out of our five chrysalises brought forth perfect, healthy butterflies. They came out, dried out, and fly about. They are beautiful and normal; my children delight in them.
The fifth chrysalis is one that I have had a special eye on. I have been very concerned about it. This particular specimen was the first caterpillar to get very large. It was the first to form a chrysalis- a day ahead of the rest. And it was the first to begin to emerge, but it never came out completely. I kept watching it, hoping that it would break through, but it never did. I thought about trying to help it, but was too nervous to do anything about it not wanting to hurt it.
Well, tonight I just couldn't help it anymore. I would slightly move the partially-outed butterfly, and see that it would move, but it just didn't make any progress in coming forth. So I took matters into my own hands- or little sewing pins, to be precise.
As I peeled away the crust of the chrysalis, it became clear that Number Five is alive. It struggled with me to break free, but something has gone very wrong. It didn't get dried out. Well, really, the wings did dry out, but because they weren't unfurled, they dried in a squished heap on the sides of the butterfly. This created a problem- Number Five's legs and antennae were stuck underneath now deformed wings.
I labored with Number Five just now for a good half hour, and now it is sitting before me, with wings scrunched, legs deformed and it's barely able to move. But it is on its own legs. It's alive!
I'm going to keep it alive, if I can (I have yet to see if it has its little tongue to extend- that'll be key). I value this little butterfly. It has value. It's value isn't in whether or not it's a "perfect" or "complete" butterfly, but it's value lies in the fact that it is a living creature made by God.
Unlike it's peers, Number Five isn't pretty to look at. In fact, he's kinda hard to look at. I'm not sure what part is what in some ways, but I don't really care. I'm going to enjoy its life and value it, keeping it alive the best I can so that it can live to its fullest.
I think there's a lot to be said about this little guy, and the lessons that it's deformed and possibly short life may teach are very special. I want my children to understand this lesson, that life is valuable.
So I'm hoping that Number Five will live. I'm letting him stand in peace so that it can dry out, and we'll see what the future looks like for this little one.