One Sunday evening earlier this month, I received what felt like direct inspiration from God. I was on the job at Barnes and Noble, learning my way around the children’s section, straightening books on the shelves when one book caught my attention.
It was “The Hungry Caterpillar”. I began reading the book, fascinated by its colorful illustrations, and found myself transported back to when I was seven-years-old. I remembered my delight at the neighborhood library, walking home with an arm full of books. But as I began reading the story, something else occurred to me. “Hey! This is the story of my career!”
The story told of an egg hatched one dark night. The sun shined on it and it hatched and grew legs. It began to crawl and eat. It ate fruit the first several days, then binged on a feasts of everything edible and got a stomach ache. It created a cocoon and hid a while then hatched again, this time a beautiful butterfly. This story hit me like a divine message put in my path to explain something I had been struggling to understand myself – much less explain to others in upcoming job interviews. In the moment, it made perfect sense:
* The egg – my idea, inspiration to pursue a career in journalism.
* The sunshine – encouragement from family, friends and mentors. *Growing legs and crawling – education, learning the skills and theory of the trade and moving through entry-level jobs.
*Eating fruit – the jobs where my innate talent and passion for communication was nurtured. Feasting on everything edible – after the journalism industry crumbled, I took any job available – some good for me, some frustrating and some down right traumatic.
*Stomach ache – I could not digest it all. Could not understand it all. I ached, felt like a failure.
*Cocoon – I withdrew, shunning party invitations and visits with my grandparents who I believed must be privately judging my failures.
*Cocoon breaks – I could see the light through my dark, self-condemning thoughts in this moment that Sunday. I can break out of the condemnation, old judgments, sense of failure.
*Wings – my beautiful appreciation of all the job experiences I’ve had and my bright optimism about new job experiences, including this seasonal job at a book store allows me to see me career as the big, beautiful butterfly that it is.
Ironically, by Tuesday I had decided against reading so much into the book about the caterpillar which had caught my attention. But, on my way to the post office (a message distribution center, right?), I noticed a caterpillar in my path. I could not ignore the irony.This wasn’t even caterpillar season. We mostly see caterpillars in the spring time, right?
The caterpillar on Oct. 11, crawling across my path could only have been a wink from heaven, right?