This was a quote that I noticed from a friend on face book as I trolled the news feed this morning. Several pictures were included of a few obstacles that were encountered along the way that day! How many of us wish for a life with no obstacles, an easy path to travel and pointless days? Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your perspective, life is filled with obstacles and hardships that bend us, shape us and help form our characters. We can choose in those moments to remain in that space and become bitter and broken or we can take the opportunity to turn it into a learning curve, an opportunity to have something good come from the experience.
I know that this sounds optimistic. And it absolutely is! The hope is that once the obstacle has been faced we can come through the other side stronger but in the moment when everything is fresh and an open wound then we have to vent, grieve, seek counselling what ever it takes to be able to lead a healthy life again. It is then that we are able to look back and see how far we have come and look at the road that was traveled and the obstacles that have been overcome.
I often think of the story that Bishop Mark Genge told a group of students at Mountain Field High School in Forteau, Labrador in the early 1990's. A man was out walking and he heard a click, click, clicking noise with much regularity and at varying intervals. It was a curious noise and he decided to investigate. So he stepped off the path that he was on and went through some fields and after much searching he found the source. It was the cocoon of the caterpillar and it was working to emerge as a butterfly. The man was fascinated and stayed to watch how the butterfly would manage. After some time the butterfly was successful and he saw a beautiful vibrantly coloured butterfly flutter out from the cocoon. He noticed that there were a lot of other cocoons there as well but they were seemingly not ready to be transformed just yet. So the next day the man returned to the same spot and sure enough he heard the same noise again. He headed directly to the spot where all the cocoons were. This time he thought I will help the butterfly so that it doesn't have to struggle so much and work so hard. Gently the man began to help the butterfly and in no time at all it was free, the man was most unimpressed as a plain brown, somewhat ugly butterfly emerged that seemed not to be able to fly well and just sat there. He could not understand what happened or why he did not receive a beautiful vibrant coloured butterfly. What he had not realized was that by helping the butterfly it did not have to struggle to emerge, to find life and freedom from the cocoon. The vibrant coloured butterflies are those that face the struggles, slowly and gradually work them through and emerge stronger. It is the struggle to emerge that gave the butterfly its colour.
Bishop Genge reminded us that the struggles of life color us, transform us and make us into stronger people with fabulous vibrant colours that make us the unique people that we are. And while there are days when we will wish for an easier road to travel, to have the obstacles removed, and a smooth path before us we are also reminded that path will probably lead to nowhere.
So as difficult as those obstacles are to face, and as horrible as some roads are to travel these are the journeys that give us our colours shape our characters and add whole new dimensions to our personalities and through it we will be bent, challenged, face dark difficult days....but we will not be broken we will be more colourful and beautiful!