After a bumpy ride half an hour out of San Jose, we pulled into The Butterfly Farm. A beautiful preserve dedicated to their proliferation, this lovely farm boasted not only lovely landscaping, but some wonderful man-created art, too …
Kim especially liked this one, so we had to get a silly picture before we headed in for the tour.
Our daughters were completely mesmerized by our able guide, who had worked at the farm for more than twenty years. Phoebe especially is a butterfly lover, and so she knew all the answers to the questions posed, and schooled us all a little, herself.
We learned about blue morphos, owls, and monarchs. Our docent showed us butterfly eggs hidden in the seams of large leaves …
And what happened after the eggs hatched …
Then a few in the more-familiar-to-us-stage.
And of course, all around us flew the wondrous creatures these tiny ones were destined to become:
She said something that made me giggle at one point. “Before the caterpillar creates its chrysalis, it becomes lazy. It doesn’t want to eat, or go anywhere, or do anything. It is slowing down, because a great change is about to take place.”
I wonder if here is the reason I feel so heavy lately. I think perhaps I’m about to make a chrysalis.
What I hadn’t really known before is that caterpillars who are about to enter the chrysalis stage which heralds their great transformation are very, very ugly. Very. So ugly that they’re taken to a special room where they can be hidden away. Well, it’s probably actually so they can be protected. But they are taken to a special room and hidden behind doors.
I’ve always said we should add on another room.
Ahem. Here they are. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Eww. I know, right? It’s painful. I’m thinking what happened is, this poor caterpillar is walking along one day, happy as a clam (how was the happiness status of clams quantified, anyway?) and then he unexpectedly catches sight of himself in a puddle of water and thinks, “Oh my stars. Am I really that hideous? I have GOT to do something about this.”
So they do! God had a plan, hallelujah. They curl up from some suspended point and develop a shell. Each chrysalis looks different; some are like beautiful jade earrings, others plain and brown. Each hides a bona-fide miracle.
I remember the first time I heard this part of the story, years ago. I was a butterfly-loving girl myself as a child, and I’d always assumed the caterpillar simply created its encasement, sprouted wings and legs, broke out, and happily flew away. But much more happens in those secretive chambers than that.
The caterpillars … they don’t just add on to what they already are. In order to change, they first must cease being what they are. They literally liquefy.
The liquefying–it is a secret. We can’t see it; there are no pictures. But it happens, hidden. And when they emerge …
They give us perhaps the best visual in all of creation of what it means to be a new creation.
It was a beautiful day. But all was not perfect in the butterfly farm. Surrounded by all this beauty, this creation singing out its Creator’s praises, deception had taken root. We were suddenly reminded that we had come to Costa Rica, after all, for a reason.
The final stop on the tour was a lovely wooden structure high on a hill. We were led into a large, open room adorned with beautiful banners. The girls were pretty much through listening at this point, so they caught rogue butterflies while we listened to our guide, who very eloquently described to us her worldview.
It felt like cold water had been dumped on my head. The beautiful banners touted in Spanish and English the theory that each man’s soul was on a journey of metamorphosis, one in which the ultimate goal was to dissolve, and become part of the Great Oversoul. The Farm has developed an association with the Sat Yoga Institute, which bills itself as an “institute for human psycho-spiritual upliftment.” Its web page begins its history with pictures and descriptions of the Big Bang.
I felt like I’d just almost stepped on the snake in the Garden.
But it’s just a philosophy, right? Not that big of a deal. And it’s all about learning lessons from nature, and the whole “We are One” thing; peace, joy and love and all that … isn’t it?
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
… just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy ofdeath, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. ~ Romans 1:18-31
All the world needs Jesus. We would spend the rest of our trip in the middle of the outgrowth of vain philosophies–not all as “enlightened” as that of the folks of The Butterfly Farm, but all as deceived. Every person on the planet has their own philosophy, which really just revolves around what one has decided to worship. When that worship goes to alcohol, drugs, bitterness, self, or anything besides the Creator Himself, the visible results are tragic.
We loaded into the van and headed out, but not before I’d returned to our guide to squeeze her tight, look deeply into her eyes and tell her how much God loved her.
There was much work to be done.