The Judith Life

Transformation: Peeling Back The Layers Of What We Think We Know

There is a guy that flies over my house. Literally. I don’t even know what contraption he’s in. Think Katy Perry in “Rise”, attach a bug-like whirring motor, and take away the sexiness.
That’s the guy.
I can’t imagine how he must feel – floating above everything, neighborhoods, churches, farms. I can imagine the reaction he gets. We’ve heard him, then chased him, waving and smiling. It’s pure joy and awe for us. It’s what I assume he feels when he’s up so far.
What do you do, just for joy’s sake?
We have five caterpillars now. Five. That’s up 400% since last year. With three caterpillars and two already in their chrysalis, our mini milkweed forest now has a name: The Dude Ranch. For Monarchs. (Okay, it’s a work in progress but this is what we’ve got so far.)
They’re so cuuuuuuuuuute!
And, important.
Because they bring me to a state of presence. Being around them, seeing their daily change, and watching their in-the-moment flash transformation – I stand in awe. Our first caterpillar transformed into it’s chrysalis mid-morning July 4th and I sat next to her/him, on the porch, for as long as I could. Sweating, watching, I waited for the moment when everything would change. Everything.
From the J-shape to the chrysalis. There is no going back. It can never be the same.

I need to see this. The life, the moment. Because as much as I have changed, what I fear is not changing, or moving backward (Dear God, no.), or changing in a negative way.
Fear, fear, fear.
I’m afraid of being left behind.
Oh boy.
And, so, I plant milkweed, watch for eggs, bring in the tiny cats mid-summer, and clean up the monarch poo that falls from the make-shift indoor caterpillar habitat.
Oooh. That fear thing. That’s no good. It’s supposed to be for joy. Only joy. Just like my floating neighborhood friend. But, then again, I don’t know really know his reasons. I can only assume from what I see.
So, why does anyone do anything? It’s hard to say really. They themselves may not even know. Honestly, I started this post believing I was raising my cats for joys sake only. But, there’s fear in there, either sprinkled in or buried deep, only being exposed because I’ve taken the time to think about it.
Why do you do what you do? Why does the jerk cut me off in traffic? Is it because he’s just an idiot out to ruin my day? Or, is there more to it? Maybe, he didn’t even see me. Maybe there is a whole story going on in his world that I have no access to.
Why do we do what we do? Do we even know? Do I have the awareness, at least, to examine my actions, to allow the reasons come to the surface?
Am I willing to find out why someone is who they are, what their story is, or even, at the smallest, what kind of day they’ve had?
Am I willing to ask….
And, what would it matter?
What difference could it make?
Consider, the risks.
I might be moved to compassion. I might have a deeper understanding of them. I might be willing to make room for that person – in a pew, on a bus, on the street, in the grocery line, in the picket line, in my living room. Next to me.
I might, Come Lord Jesus, problem solve with them. Find out what they need and actually help them get it. Jeez, what does that take? And, how good will that feel?
I might find my own place in the world that I am in, the community I live, the space God has granted to me.
I might help someone else find theirs.
Maybe this is where transformation happens. It’s not only with skin that’s been shed and time taken in the interim. It’s with questions, curiosity, and the ability to let go of what we think we know. Allowing those revelations to peel back the real people we are inside.
And, who we are meant to be.

Want to learn more about the fascinating life of the monarch and how their change reflects ours? Click HERE to listen to one of my favorite Radiolab podcast episodes.
Photo Credit: Jahoo Clouseau at

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