The lights flicker dimly in the long hallway. The swinging bulbs cast deceptively menacing shadows upon the walls as I pass through the corridor they so ominously protect. Outside, the rain fiercely smashes into the windows as if flung from the very crack of thunder that surrounds it. Creaks echo throughout the entirety of this old house, and the insistent streams of water pool their way onto the floor through the cracks in corners of the roof. Officers step out of the way as I unhurriedly stride up, wrapped in a body length coat. Water drips noisily off the brim of my hat as I remove it and hand it to a nearby officer. Each splash to the ground echoes loudly in my ears.
Murder. That’s what they were calling it. Chalk outline on the floor, lightly smeared where the water had begun to soak up through the old wooden flooring.
A pair of protective gloves extended to me… keen attention to detail has already revealed the victim was a local. Modest living. Kept to his or her self. Was probably friendly.
I step up to the corpse, and pull back the sheet…
… and am startled to see my own face staring lifelessly back at me.
Tell me- have you ever had to solve your own murder?
Life begins upon the realization that it has ended.
This may sound esoteric and crazy, but I speak of the process of transformation. In order to BE anything, what was previously must cease to exist. It must die. Furthermore… it will arrive at a point of death whether you like it or not.
Can you imagine a caterpillar trying to become a butterfly- but attempting to maintain a grip on it’s caterpillar form simultaneously?? The cocoon process would become a place of stalemated chaos as it resisted the natural flow into the death of its original state. That’s what essentially happens- death. The “essence” of the caterpillar remains intact, but its original form is laid waste and replaced with a new one. Newer capabilities. New ways to apply reflexes. A loss of abilities (running for instance), but the tradeoffs are ultimately better (it can now fly).
There’s even a name change. You can’t call it a caterpillar anymore… or if you did, you would get no response except for maybe some weird looks. True transformation demands acknowledgement simply by embodying its identity- it’s a butterfly now.
The life of the “caterpillar” began [“for real” or in earnest] the instant that it realized its caterpillar life had ended, for only then was it free to embrace the butterfly existence… which by no coincidence is the form it was always intended to have.
This then was the necessary understanding to solving the first part of my murder.
I had my eyes opened to the fact that life/God/purpose was pushing me into and through this cocoon process- but I was rebelling. Attempting to get butterfly privileges with caterpillar comfort as it were.
Results? Benign. Blech.
But that begs the question… why was I doing this? It is natural for the caterpillar to become the butterfly. Why was I so stubbornly engaging in unnatural behavior? Was I blind to how unnatural it was, or simply willing myself into believing the lie?
This led to clue number two.
I have a need to believe negative things about myself in order to justify the bad things that happen.
Stay with me here.
Somewhere in my past something critical happened… maybe several critical things… things that I perceived as bad. Wrong. Also things that I had no control over, and nobody to overturn it for me. And because of this, my emotional intelligence was warped to embrace falsehoods about myself in order to continue functioning as a human being… However as I grew older, those things were never revisited and corrected and so my perception of myself began to link more and more easily to unnatural things… I had allowed it to fuse into my identity- my idea of myself…
And so now whenever bad things or unnatural things occur to me or by me, I justify it by rehearsing an accepted set of negatively developed perceptions resulting in closing lines such as “that’s just me” or “I deserved it.”
Keep on stayin with me.
C.S. Lewis once said that every bad thing is merely a perversion of a good thing… Evil is good gone dark. Greed is a twisted form of ambition. Megalomania is perverted leadership. And so on and so forth.
Holding that to be true then, we can apply it here…
Death- is going to happen. It is essential to a greater life. What better way than to mess up the highly necessary and beneficial transformation process, by becoming negatively associated with death during our impressionable years?
Because of various childhood violations- I hated death. Any transformation beyond my immediate stimulation and control was unwanted. It left a sour taste in my mouth. Something in me was killed and nobody was around to fix it, and now you want me to willingly walk open armed into the jaws of death and believe that I’ll magically appear “better” on the other side?
I’d rather swim with fire-stinger leeches.
But I couldn’t escape that fact… something in me had died a long time ago, and I had been reacting to it ever since. Possibly even feeding it, and causing it reoccur in other forms throughout the years. And as a direct result of that, and every decision after that, I was now at this point of acting unnatural. I wanted what came with being a butterfly- I aspire to fly afterall. Be closer to the sun. Communicate with other creatures of the air. I desired that change.
But this, this- phobia was having me act so unnatural that I had become a tool working against my own wants… regardless of any accomplishments hitherto.
That process revealed the assassin… and the verdict.
It was me.
I am guilty.
Jaw goes slack…
Pen and notepad hit the floor…
The tears on my cheeks match the downpour outside…
It was me all along.
It was my decision to not revisit those issues… I elected to embrace abnormality… I chose to attach a fear to the necessary experiences of death unto transformation… The path of my life is riddled with the footprints of my choices.
I am the product of every decision I have ever made.
There is no one to blame, no one to chase down, no one to exact vengeance upon, no one’s lap to leave this whole mess in… My identity has always been in my control- and when I surrender that control to my environment, I risk chaotic results. My identity- my idea of myself- must stem from me. My values. My goals. I needed to have an original, very personal idea of myself… and go back and rectify those things in my memory that gave me cause to skew to either side of my destiny.
For those who do not embrace the control and responsibility they have over their life, death holds a menacing promise of untold sufferings that will keep them in check and prevent them from truly finding out who they are and experiencing life as it was meant to be.
I am not those people. I will assume responsibility for my decision making from now on. So for me? The rules are just a little bit different.
Death is ALWAYS a pathway to greater life whenever I encounter it. Transformation is the required mantle to become the type of person I declare that I want to be. I do not yield to fear- it is a toothless, noisy, hairy beast that grows more distant or immaterial the closer I step to it. My job is not to not have fear- but rather to courageously embrace the necessary death of transformation. And when my old form dies- that fear will die with it. I am a new creature, by the product of my choices.
If I can do it- and trust me, I do not do this perfectly… at all.
But if I can do it at LEAST more than I used to, and strive for it with all my strength…
Then so can you. We are all flesh and blood. We can all achieve, and pull from each others’ wins and progresses. Life is a team effort, and a true team knows nothing of origin or heritage; it only knows unity.