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Lastness and Firstness

butterfly on a red flower

My mother loved butterflies. Her house was full of them. Not the real kind, but butterfly pins, embroidered butterflies, painted butterflies, chains of quilted butterflies, even those on a wire that you stick in a potted plant to decorate it. All the books in her library were stamped with a green butterfly stamp.

Mom passed away suddenly this fall. It was rather an abrupt end to a rich and full life. The other morning I had a flash of an image of her—she’s a beautiful butterfly, flying happily in the sunshine. She had broken out of the chrysalis of this earthly life and was flying free and strong. Suddenly I saw the lastness and the firstness of all those butterflies in her house.

This life really is the chrysalis. This is where we transform from a physical being, attached to the earth and focused on our earthly wants and needs, into a spiritual being that soars. This earthly life is where the spiritual being inside us emerges and takes shape. As the butterfly grows and develops, eventually the chrysalis—which was its protection and food source—becomes too cramped and confined. Finally, the butterfly bursts free from its cage and stretches its wings. On that day, the chrysalis is discarded, no longer needed… and this new, transformed being takes flight.

This is us. This is our journey here. Our job is to develop all the capacities within us so we can break free of this world and emerge into the next one with wings strong and sure. We can fly!

“O Son of Spirit! Burst thy cage asunder, and even as the phoenix of love soar into the firmament of holiness.” ~ Baha’u’llah
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