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Like the Butterfly: A Coming of Age

Miscellaneous By: Jan Gabriel

This is a letter I wrote to a friend back in high school on her 18th birthday.

Submitted:May 1, 2012    Reads: 20    Comments: 3    Likes: 2   

Life is wonderful, isn't it? So full of sights and sounds, tears and laughter, ends and beginnings-and this day marks the end of a phase in your life, of times so fondly missed but never again to return, existing only in the memories of those you have touched with your spirit and those who have touched you with theirs. Like a butterfly bathed in the light of sunset you flutter about, enjoying the calm of dusk with innocent glee but knowing that the light will inevitably set and you shall be greeted by the night of the soul once more. But like a butterfly you flutter about still, unmoved by the despair brought by darkness as you fly in the breeze of night gaily, innocent in motion but no more ignorant than the most seasoned creature. As the last of the golden rays dissipates and Nyx embraces the land once more, you cease your frolicking and retreat to the safety and security of your home… your haven. With eyes closed as if to drift into slumber but wide awake to shiver consciously at the touch of night's cold air on your skin, you retreat further… to your mind, the house of your thoughts… and even further to your heart, the house of your soul… you, the butterfly, perched on that single blue flower in the gardens of your temple-those petals, painted in the shades of the blue sky of morning's glory, foreshadowing the day to come and attesting with confidence that this night will soon pass.

Perhaps the greatest wonder of living is the uncertainty of living itself, and perhaps even greater is our capability to choose how we face that uncertainty. Do we look on with enthusiasm, or do we bow our heads and shut our eyes? Do we hope, or despair? Just as the butterfly in the wind we too drift in the currents of time, its currents constantly changing at the whim of fickle Fortune's wheel and its spokes guided by the hands of Fate. Despite our apparent powerlessness in this strange situation, through this winding uncertainty of the paths of life, one thing is certain: we are in control. Lady Fortuna may bestow us riches, but it is ours to utilize or squander. Or she may curse us in our moment of vulnerability and knock us to the ground, but it is up to us whether to stand back upright or lay there in ceaseless agony. Like the butterfly who once upon a time decided to wrap its caterpillar form in a cocoon, we too face that great indecision-that is, will we let ourselves fade away with nothing but a meaningless worm's husk for others to remember us by, or will we become cocoons and morph into our actualizations? Life may drift about, but it is our spirit that controls the raft. It is we who decides our fate.

You were a beautiful caterpillar, once upon a time. Now break free from your cocoon. Break free and fly, soaring on wings of passion! Be the beautiful butterfly you were meant to be!


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