From “Simple Steps” by Arthur Caliandro, a beloved minister:
“I have a few stories that have helped me in my own life. They seem to me to embody truths that I believe are very important. One of my favorites concerns a laboratory experiment by botanist Alfred Russell Wallace, a contemporary of Charles Darwin….
…Wallace was in his laboratory observing an Emperor butterfly trying to get free from its cocoon. The struggle was tense, with life-or-death consequences. He wondered, ‘What would happen if I assisted this process?’ So with a knife he made a slit down the length of the cocoon. This is what happened, in his words: ‘The butterfly emerged, spread its wings, drooped perceptibly, and died.’
“The pain and intensity of the struggle had been denied it, and it failed to grow. It could not emerge into the world with the strength it needed to survive.
“Of course, we don’t always welcome adversity with open arms. We don’t always welcome pain or setbacks. Yet with the right kind of thinking, we can keep them in perspective and see them as opportunities to grow, strengthen, and excel in our lives. With the right outlook and attitude, we can triumph over adversity.”
Yes, welcoming adversity, and dancing with it, isn’t easy. And yet, so often our problems and pain are fuel for growth. It’s not our easy wins that give us strength. It’s finding the grit and will to overcome our setbacks that builds us up and helps us improve our craft.
What a simple message this story offers! As Olympic athlete Picabo Street says so well: “Adversity creates heroes.” Let’s be brave butterflies and find the strength to fly. Write on!
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