The Chrysalis and the Oyster: The Metamorphosis of Waiting
I’m now in those last few weeks of pregnancy in which everything is completely out of my hands and it’s just a process of waiting. And it’s made me think about the word waiting.
Waiting. I’m not very good at it and honestly, I hate the word. When I studied public policy a few years ago, we learned to analyze situations, think of risks and benefits, find the best option and then implement and act on this. Act towards change. This makes sense to me,and comes more naturally to my impatient self.
I’ve always been annoyed when people talk about waiting. Waiting is for those who have nothing better to do, who are afraid to act or are otherwise weak in some way. Definitely not for me…
Yet, these past couple of years have entailed a lot of waiting for me. Frustrated, impatient waiting!
Waiting for circumstances to change;
Waiting for people to be less blind to important issues;
Waiting for people to just communicate-genuinely and clearly;
Waiting for people to do what they said they would;
Waiting for thoughts and dreams to take shape and become reality, like so many strokes of an artist’s masterpiece;
Waiting for peace to become a priority for people;
And, of course, Waiting for a new life to come into being.
Many of these things I cannot force and are completely out of my control. YetI so want to have that control, to compel things into the way I think they should be! I can influence somewhat, but I can’t make them come into being.
But I’ve learned something about waiting. There truly is something beautiful that can be formed within through waiting, something incredible to learn.
I’ve learned where I have perhaps been part of the problem when I thought I was part of the solution, where I have judged and been wrong, where I could have been better but was blinded by my own pride or assumptions.
We can see two examples in nature that are so symbolic of the transformative power of waiting:
- The chrysalis is the cocoon into which the caterpillar disappears and then emerges as a completely different and beautiful creature-a butterfly. The caterpillar literally melts into a soup and has its cells rearranged, reemerging as a new being, even with new DNA.
- The oyster is the unwilling and ugly bearer of the pearl. The pearl is initially perceived as an irritant that the oyster tries to rid itself of. But the beautiful irritant remains and then, through much friction, the lustrous pearl is formed. While gemstones have to be cut and polished, the pearl glows and has luster without ever needing any treatment. It is simply iridescent as is, formed through strife and waiting.
If we’re truly honest, all the important things require a process of waiting that we can’t control-new life, love, the changing of hearts, peace.
While I hate the process of waiting, I am encouraged that through the friction, pain, and frustration, there is a metamorphosis that will enable me to be a better agent of change than I would be otherwise. And that’s worth it!
We can allow ourselves to act in ways to eventually be the best mothers, partners, influencers or peacemakers. We can even make a plan for this and try to act.
But when circumstances or people are beyond our control, let’s all allow ourselves to be shaped and transformed from the process of waiting. Not passive, but active waiting. Then when the very thing we are waiting on is in our grasp or, in the instance of birth, is in our hands, we can be even better agents of change needed in a world with so much apathy. -Y