Monday, December 17, 2012

Dear Caterpillar Principle,

If you've never heard of the Caterpillar Principle, don't freak out. Because it was just discovered last night. Dare to imagine with me:

     Pretend you are an animal. A small one, preferably a squirrel or a chipmunk...but I'm not very creative, so think of something exciting.
     You see two bugs. One is an ant. One is a caterpillar. Both the same distance away from you.
     (I know, it's starting to sound like math problem already. Bear with me.)
     Same amount of energy to get to both. So you choose the caterpillar. Because it provides more reward for your effort....obviously. (I know squirrels eat nuts. Focus here.)

     There are times in my life when I've chosen the ant. And it's good, but afterwards I realized that I kinda sold myself short. 
     There are times in my life when I've chosen the caterpillar. And it's still good. Opportunity cost: worth it. Blah blah blah.
     There are times, however, when I've reached the caterpillar and realized it was actually a butterfly. Better than anything I saw coming. And instead of being like "SWEET! I used practically no effort and got something AMAZING".......I find myself being willing to give even more. Suddenly I don't want to only travel the distance to the caterpillar, I want to be able to fly in order to not keep them on the ground.
     Sometimes it gets me in trouble. Sometimes I'm willing to give more than the other person. My roommates tell me it's just my personality. 
     And other times, I get in trouble because people give me WAY more than I can ever return. Like Hannah, for example. She is the wind beneath my wings, and no matter what I do, I will never be able to repay her.

     I've heard my whole life that any relationship you are in is supposed to be equal. So that you can learn to fly together. 

I wonder if that's true. 

     And I wonder if it's possible. To have both people see each other as butterflies, to treat each other as butterflies, even if sometimes they act like caterpillars. 
     And then I remember my parents. The most awesome example I have of a wonderful relationship. And it gets me thinking: maybe relationships are a choice. And maybe relationships, as my mom has taught me, are always about giving. Maybe it's all just about what you want. Or what you see. Or what you are willing to give.
     And I think sometimes you've got to take the great thing you have in your hands and learn to fly. And other times, you have to learn to be a butterfly on your own. -ChloĆ©


  1. I think you're right... and one of the fun things about relationships is that you don't have to know. Sometimes you can go to the caterpillar and you know it will be a butterfly... you just have to wait. Sometimes you get there and BAM... butterfly. Sometimes you lose interest before you see the butterfly. Sometimes you have to protect the caterpillar from being eaten before it becomes a butterfly...

    I think this is a pretty good principle to live by. :)

  2. So I was just roving the internet while waiting for Katie to get ready and I stumbled upon a total day maker here. Or life maker. =) I just read this book that you would LOVE—this post made me think of it. C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves. He talks about Gift-love and Need-love and the interactions between different types of love in all our relationships. His take on Friendship (he capitalizes it and I liked that hence I'm capitalizing it) is that it's one of the more noble loves because people meet as equals over a common thread. He says it better, though... It's like being butterflies together. =) I like this idea. (Also, talk to Luke if you want the origin of the word 'butterfly' because he has a good story.)