Once upon a time there was a caterpillar. She hatched from an egg that had been abandoned under a leaf and crawled away to find a place for herself in the world, a safe place, a place with food, a place she could survive.
And she did survive. She grew to be a larger caterpillar, if plain, without some of the vibrant markings of her kin. She survived, and continued to live, day after day, seeking her safety and sustenance, taking it where she could find it.
Then, one day, it was time. Time for what, she couldn’t have told you. She only knew that it was time for something, something different, something beyond surviving, something that would change her life.
It began with the stiffening. She found herself unable to move, something new building up around her, against her will. She could no longer live as she had before, seeking out food and safety. She was bound to this place, and if there was no food, no safety, then she wouldn’t survive.
She struggled, but it was no use. The shell continued to build around her, as if she were back in the egg from which she was born. There were no doors or windows, no escape left for her. Soon, as the last section closed, near her head, she couldn’t even see the sky.
“Skyfather, Skyfather, help!” she cried. “I’m trapped, I can’t move, let me out!”
The Skyfather answered her with a soothing croon. “It’s alright, my daughter, I’ve got you.”
“If you’ve got me,” she asked, “Then why am I here? Why am I trapped here, away from the sunshine? Have I done something wrong? I tried to be a good caterpillar!”
“You’ve been a very good caterpillar,” He answered. “And I’m taking care of you. This is only for a Little While, and then it will be Better, Better than you can imagine.”
“How long is a Little While?” she asked, getting frantic. She couldn’t get free and already missed the breeze and the sunlight. “And what do you mean, Better?”
The Skyfather chuckled softly. “Even if I told you what Better was, you wouldn’t understand it. It’s bigger than your mind can hold right now. And a Little While is Long Enough.”
“Long Enough for what?” she asked, quivering.
“Long Enough for everything to be made Better, including you.”
She was quiet for a time, thinking that over in the darkness. Then something new started to happen, a sort of tingling in the skin of her sides and back.
“Skyfather, Skyfather!” she cried again. “Something new is happening! What is this?”
“It is the Unmaking, child,” he said, gently.
“Unmaking?” she asked. “I’m being unmade? But then what will I be?”
“You will be Something Better, my child. But before I can make you that Better You, the Old You must be Unmade.”
She trembled quietly, then asked, very softly, “Will it hurt, being Unmade?”
“Sometimes,” the Skyfather answered. “Sometimes, when you’re too used to Old You, it is hard to let go and be Better You.” He sounded sad.
“If I am Better Me, will I still be me?”
“You will be more You than you have ever been,” the Skyfather promised quietly.
It was quiet again as the caterpillar thought about that, and felt bits of herself come undone. “It is hard,” she said at last. “Waiting Long Enough. Is it Long Enough yet? I want to be Better now.”
The Skyfather chuckled again gently. “You haven’t finished being Unmade yet, my child. It will be a Bit Longer, and then you will be Remade. Then you will see what Better is.”
She waited, feeling the Unmaking. Sometimes there was a twinge, when she panicked and tightened, trying to keep everything as it was. Then she remembered the Skyfather’s words, took a deep breath, and let it go.
Soon she felt like she was floating in her shell, not quite sure who or where she was. But she trusted the Skyfather and knew He would make her Better, even if she didn’t know what Better would be.
Slowly, she felt things tighten as they came back together in a new way. It was uncomfortable and a bit scary, because some parts of her she’d always had were gone, and there were some new parts that she didn’t understand. She felt strange, and she couldn’t see, here in the darkness of her shell. But she clung to the promise of Better, took a deep breath, and did her best to obey the Skyfather.
“Almost done,” He said gently. “You’ve done very well.”
She blinked, then realized that there was a pale green light around her. Her shell was thinning. She felt excitement well up. She was going to come out, and she was going to be Better!
The walls around her finally split open, and she crawled out to cling to the twig she’d been anchored to. But the new parts of her, the parts that were supposed to be Better, were wet and crumpled and ugly. Suddenly she missed the darkness of her shell. Now she was exposed, where everyone could see how dirty and miserable she was.
“Skyfather, Skyfather,” she sobbed. “How is this Better? This is Worse! I still can’t move, and now I’m ugly and everyone can see me! I wish I were still a caterpillar!”
“Trust me, my daughter,” He said, in a velvety voice that soothed her fear and shame. “I’m still here, and I’m still Remaking you. You will be Better, I promise. Just trust Me a bit longer.”
She didn’t see how anything could possibly be Better again, but she made herself wait a bit longer. Skyfather had cared for her for all her life; surely she could trust Him now?
Slowly, slowly, her New Parts started to dry and straighten. She flicked them a few times, then looked back in awe. Her New Parts were wings! She’d waited, and now they were beautiful! They were blue and green and black and shimmered in the sunlight. She flicked them again, and then she did something she never imagined that she would do.
As she soared and fluttered across the bright blue sky, in the sunlight and the breeze, she and the Skyfather laughed together in delight.
I’ll be back with Rebekah, Sara, and the rest of the Girls of the Covenant next time!