Two weeks ago, I was a hero. There was a neon green caterpillar moseying around in the hallway outside of my office. I saw him and I smiled. I didn’t kill him because I am human. This little guy was traveling alone, is now adorable, and will some day be beautiful (right? all caterpillars turn into butterflies? right!?). He did not bring any friends and is not ugly or frightening-looking so I didn’t feel immediately inclined to kill him. Instead, I decided I would save him.
I grabbed two pieces of paper to push together underneath him to get him on. I didn’t want to touch him because there are so many species of unhuman things that don’t let their friends back into the clan after they have human scent on them. I wasn’t taking any risks. I took my papers, scooped him up, and set him free outside.
I was a hero. I had saved a creature and had brought it back to it’s natural – and obviously necessary – habitat. Hurrah for me, I said!
Then something happened…
I walked out of my office today to find a neon green caterpillar… In almost the same exact spot as the one I had so mightily freed two weeks ago.
According to my internet research – past the early states of life, caterpillars are not pack insects which means a couple of different things.
1) This is most likely not some relation to the previous caterpillar.
2) The previous caterpillar didn’t come with friends.
3) If this is not a relation to the previous caterpillar (see: no infestation), and they don’t travel in packs.
4) All signs point to this probably being the same caterpillar I saw two weeks ago.
5) I’m a big jerk.
No seriously though. I saw this guy and thought “Oh my, he clearly needs my help, I shall rescue him!” and took him outside. He then spent the next two weeks trying to get back to where I had “rescued” him from. I don’t know how long a caterpillar/butterfly lives but I’m sure it’s not as long as a human so two weeks to me was probably months to him. He probably thought about giving up at times, probably wondered why the fates had driven him through such turmoil; but he was determined. He made it made to where I found him.
I know what you’re thinking. This may very well be a different caterpillar but what are the odds? We don’t work in some sort of caterpillar breeding ground.
And what if I’m wrong? What if this isn’t the same caterpillar? What if I needed to rescue another caterpillar and I mistakenly treated it as the previous one? I can’t handle that guilt. If this little guy spent the last two weeks traveling this far, I can’t do that to him again. He is on his way somewhere. If this is a new caterpillar then clearly these little guys are all on their way to some sort of caterpillar mecca of sorts and I need to stop messing it up.
In summation. I learned a valuable lesson today. I read into things – sometimes too much – and I feel like someone, somewhere was trying to tell me something today. If you consider that this is the same caterpillar, then, in trying to help him, all I really did was make things harder for him.
Often, when we think we are helping, we can make the problem worse. When we think we are making things better, we are prolonging the suffering.
This was a good lesson the from universe today. As the kind of person who likes to take care of things, I needed this lesson. Sometimes, care-taking can be overbearing and even detrimental. Sometimes, caterpillars need to take their own path to their promised land. I may not understand the journey or the destination – but that’s not for me to do anyway. I am here to help; but I need to help in a way that is welcome.
Maybe if that caterpillar knew English he would have been all “Yo Lady! Chill out! I’m on my way to see my Catergirlfriend!” and I would have been all “Oh, my B bro” and set him on his merry way.
Unfortunately, caterpillars do not speak English.
Fortunately, I had a seemingly simple moment today that felt very pivotal and very much like a teaching moment. If I was a teacher, pastor, mother, etc. I would totally use this. However, I am just a girl with a blog – learning lessons everyday in the craziest ways. Even the tinest parts of this universe can force us to think.
“Happiness often sneaks in a door you didn’t know you left open.” John Barrymore
Maybe leaving the door open is how the caterpillar got in…