LOST is my favourite television show in the world (followed closely by Dexter). Having finally managed to buy the box-set, I’ve been watching it from the beginning again. There was a particularly powerful scene last night that I’d completely forgotten about. But before I show you that, I’ll put the show into context (without spoiling it for everyone else!):
The show follows a group of survivors from a plane crash, stranded on a mysterious island. After two weeks, a drug addict called Charlie is running out of his heroin stash and Locke, an enigmatic and almost sage-like character is trying to get him to confront his addiction. Charlie is on the verge of giving in to his need when this scene occurs (with transcript below):
Charlie: “My stash, Locke. I can’t stand feeling like this.”
Locke: “Come here. Let me show you something.
What do you suppose is in that cocoon, Charlie?”
Charlie: “I don’t know, a butterfly I guess?”
Locke: “No, it’s much more beautiful than that. That’s a moth cocoon. It’s ironic; butterflies get all the attention but moths…moths spin silk. They’re stronger, faster…
Charlie: “That’s wonderful, but…”
Locke: “You see this little hole? This moth’s just about to emerge. It’s in there right now, struggling; it’s digging it’s way through the thick hide of the cocoon. Now, I could help it…take my knife, gently widen the opening and the moth would be free. But it would be too weak to survive. Struggle is nature’s way of strengthening it. Now this is the second time you’ve asked me for your stash. Ask me again and it’s yours…”
Strength in Our Struggles
In my opinion, it’s scenes like this that make the show special. It’s a fantastic analogy for our own lives in so many ways. On a human level, it’s heartening. There are times in all of our lives when we feel cocooned; whether as teenagers cocooned by the rules of parents or grappling instead with the tough emotions that encase us – depression, the loss of loved ones or complicated relationships, to name a few. We feel restricted by these emotions, both claustrophobic and helpless and the idea of there being a world outside of our restrictions is preposterous! We are either unaware or oblivious of what we are heading towards. The ability to break through the cocoon and feel a renewed sense of freedom and hope appears to be an illusion when we are surrounded on all sides by our weakness. But like the moth, this is all part of our metamorphosis. We are strengthened in our struggles; these experiences help us to survive.
However, there’s also a spiritual level to this analogy and whilst it doesn’t offer a solution, certainly provides some food for thought on the issue of suffering. Sometimes, some of our greatest struggles can strengthen us to live out God’s calling on our lives in ways that we would never have thought possible. If we simply meandered through life, blissfully unaware of the struggles that so many others face, perhaps we wouldn’t have the strength to do anything about it. Like the cocoon to the moth, we can be confident that any struggles we face are intended to help us grow. How? Because the Bible tells us:
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Do you feel cocooned at the moment? Are you struggling? If so, remember that on the other side of what you are facing is an entire world of possibilities. If you keep on digging, you might find that you have the strength to do more than you could possibly thought possible as a result. Isn’t that exciting?!