butterflies have a very symbolic, sentimental meaning for me. such a fitting metaphor of how when a caterpillar is wrapped in its cocoon wriggling, struggling, and thinking that this may very well be the end of its life, it finally bursts out of its cage as a beautiful butterfly. i've felt like a caterpillar many times in my life which led to some amazing "butterfly" experiences. well, right now i feel like a caterpillar again.
i've had two weeks of teaching my 9th graders so far and ... the experience cannot be explained very easily. sometimes i feel so overwhelmed, frustrated, and far - far - behind where i should be. other times i stand in awe of how powerful the spirit is and what it can do. what a blessing i've received, but what a weight on my shoulders!
it wasn't that long ago - at all - that i was in their exact shoes. 9th grade was the worst year of school i've ever experienced to this day! how much worse must it be for them? the "get to know you" sheets i had each student fill out has taught me so much. these blessed little souls are yearning and begging for the Holy Ghost. they want the security the gospel brings. they want peace and rest from the sometimes excruciating trials they face every day. they are caterpillars in their own right as well. i don't know everything that is going on in their lives, but i can see the result. i see the pain they're trying to hide. i see the behavior problems that stem from hard family life. how beautiful it is that Heavenly Father loves each one of them! how beautiful it is that He knows exactly what they're going through! how beautiful it is that He knows how to comfort His children and lift them from their sorrow!
it brings so much joy to see a sweet, quiet girl make the connection that the plan of salvation is relevant to her life because it gives her a reason to keep the commandments! the true teacher of these beautiful souls is the Holy Ghost. i'm completely inadequate on my own, but when the spirit is there, the true learning begins. i've already had experiences that have touched my heart and some that have made me ask, "why? why Father, have I been put in this position?" regardless, i'm grateful for the opportunity i have to be taught by the spirit and the 9th graders in my classes.
as i wriggle and struggle through this year on working toward becoming a butterfly, i know that my students are as well. i have faith that the Holy Ghost will lead all of us in the direction we need to go. just you wait .... there are some stunningly gorgeous butterflies just waiting to spread their wings and fly.