Imaginal cells

To the editor:

Rev. Robert Langseth’s recent column (April 11th) suggested Americans are at a chrysalis moment and might emerge as a nation based on liberty, with justice for all.  His idea reminded me of a little-known marvel that occurs during metamorphosis.  

Inside the chrysalis, when the caterpillar liquefies, some of the cells that had been dormant become “imaginal cells” and gradually replace the old caterpillar cells.  The dying cells do not die without a major fight.  Understandably, they are not pleased with change.  The imaginal cells, in contrast, waste no energy opposing the old, dying cells.  They simply grow. At first, they are unconnected to each other, but eventually the imaginal cells form a network to become something completely different, a butterfly. 

During this coronavirus pandemic, those of us who are staying home are experiencing a “time out,” but we can be part of nature’s healing process, so evident in spring, the season of miraculous rebirth.  Even though we are physically separated, we are full of potential energy and have many ways to exercise our social connectedness.  

If humanity is undergoing metamorphosis, each of us can choose to use this time inside our chrysalis to become something new, different, and beautiful.  Instead of looking to the past and angrily fighting change, we can be kind to each other, care for those who are in need, and live in ways that allow other species to thrive.  

As I look out at the world today, I see many imaginal cells — charismatic people who freely receive and share loving energy.  Inspired and empowered by natural forces, they are working to fundamentally change human society for the better.  If we choose to align ourselves with these visionaries and the natural forces that are moving us forward, we will emerge from our chrysalis truly different from anything the world has ever seen.


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