What happens in there, inside that cocoon? What silent process turns a worm into a glory? Has anyone peered inside somehow and beheld the process? ’Tis mystery all to me.
Such thought forms in my head today because I feel cocooned. Cocooned long now, and much in process, preparing to emerge. A pulsing drive in this little ’piller is starting to emanate from core to skin, starting to push against crowding confinement—desire transforming into hope and labor, labor into breaking free.
Yet I know this: you cannot rush the process, or you get process fail. I’ve seen it with moths and butterflies. I’ve seen it with baby chicks. And I’ve seen it with overly “helpful” people. You dare not hurry emergence.
How often some observer, watching the drawn-out struggle, interprets it as pain (which it well may be), and rushes in to “rescue,” to help the struggler “just a little”—and what results is weakness and death. Of a butterfly, or a baby chick, or an embryo of creativity meant to become a masterpiece, or a new level of faith and understanding or personal victory.
You peel back even a bit of that shell or cocoon or shredding armor and you deprive the emergent being of the strength that comes from the struggle itself.
It’s like in the Song of Songs…
Do not stir up or awaken love until it pleases…” (Song 8:4).
We get in love’s way. We get in God’s way. We get in the way of natural processes. We do it with chicks and butterflies. We do it with other people. We do it with ourselves.
With our rush and impatience or self-importance we eclipse a process needing hands-off space.
At the “Silent Sanctuary” retreat, in the orientation session, one instruction to all attending warmed my heart and left me feeling safe and free: If you see someone crying, don’t rush right in to rescue them.
I’d seen that kind of thing before: some mama hen kind of woman swooping down on some seminar weeper who actually needed space, not rescue: space to puzzle and ponder and process, space to connect with God as her source of strength, space to work and struggle, imbued with solely His divine power, to clamber, exhausted, out of her cocoon…
And I knew, as I felt myself on the edge of weeping, I didn’t want anyone swooping down on me! Not after all the process I’d been going through, which I knew still needed inside-outward completion.
I also knew that an actual mother hen doesn’t peck away the outside of a shell that needs breaking from inside. She rolls eggs beneath her wings to keep them uniformly warm. She pokes her head in wonder toward newly hatching ones. She tosses out the cast-off shells. But she doesn’t pry the fledgling out of its confines or its strengthening struggle. Instinctively she’s wiser than we. [View a great video of the chick hatching process here.]
So, all that said… That’s why you haven’t heard from me till now about the silent retreat. A lot is still in process.
From my shredding cocoon…