One day, a man found a cocoon of a butterfly and he decided to take it home. A few days later a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were necessary to force fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. If the butterfly wasn’t strong enough to break through its own cocoon, this meant it was not strong enough to fly.

If we compare this story to our own existence, the obstacles we face on our path are there to make us grow. The struggle we face sometimes makes us stronger and more able to face future challenges and be independant. If we faced a life without effort, where everything was done for us, we would not end up with the strong will and the strength we have today. We would not have been able to fly and accomplish our dreams. 

“Only the test of fire makes the strongest iron.” 

Author : Patrick Leroux (book : Pour le cœur et l’esprit)