Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Speaking as a caterpillar

And the Caterpillar talked all the rest of her life to her relations of the time when she should be a Butterfly. 
But none of them believed her. She nevertheless had learnt the Lark's lesson of faith, and when she was going into her chrysalis grave, she said–"I shall be a Butterfly some day!"
But her relations thought her head was wandering, and they said, "Poor thing!"
And when she was a Butterfly, and was going to die again, she said–
"I have known many wonders–I have faith–I can trust even now for what shall come next!"
(Margaret Gatty,  "A Lesson of Faith" in Parables from Nature
Last weekend I had the chance to speak to a group of CM people about vision...having a vision for education, for families, for the future. It was only later that I made the connection with the subtitle of Minds More Awake: The Vision of Charlotte Mason. But it all comes from the same place. Having just sat through a dramatization of "A Lesson of Faith," it was almost impossible anyway not to be thinking along those lines.

There's one point in the story that I had never considered much: that of the cabbage leaf itself.
"New, news, glorious news, friend Caterpillar!" sang the Lark; "... I will tell you what these little creatures are to eat"–and the Lark nodded his beak towards the eggs. "What do you think it is to be? Guess!"
"Dew, and the honey out of flowers, I am afraid," sighed the Caterpillar.
"No such thing, old lady! Something simpler than that. Something that you can get at quite easily."
"I can get at nothing quite easily but cabbage-leaves," murmured the Caterpillar, in distress.
"Excellent! my good friend," cried the Lark exultingly; "you have found it out. You are to feed them with cabbage-leaves."
One of the other speakers at the retreat described what happened when their church-planting ministry decided to drop fancy Bible study materials and focus on the book itself. Something that they could get at quite easily. She described the power of this approach not only on the mission field, but, shockingly, back in Canada as well. Charlotte Mason mentioned a "smoke and water feast"; Mrs. Gatty spoke of dew and nectar, but it's the same thing: we worry over what we can't provide, when the cabbage leaves are all around us.

Some day I'll be a butterfly. For the time being, I'm a caterpillar. I need to be in relationship with my cabbage-leaf universe, and to nourish others from the stuff that is right under our noses sensory receptors.

It is glorious news.

1 comment:

  1. Glorious news!!
    I love your connections. It all seemed connected in some way and we were all reminded again and again that the cabbage leaf we are sitting on is the right one for us. For now.
    Thank you, Anne.