The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


March 16, 2013

Struggle brings strength for next step

Keeping The Faith

Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published July 26, 2000. Davis passed away Aug. 1, 2010, of a sudden illness.

A few weeks ago, a situation turned out differently than I had hoped it would. Disappointed, I went around for days seeing “THE END” in bold neon letters stamped across the plans and hopes I’d had in mind.

Apathy finally set in, and just when I thought I didn’t care any more, I saw a poster with the message, “What seems to be an end is, in reality, a new beginning.”

Boy, I needed that.

Life doesn’t always meet our expectations. When it doesn’t, why do we always assume everything goes down the tubes?

I’ve decided that my reason is that I don’t like to struggle. I want things to flow along easily and smoothly with me as the recipient of all things bright and beautiful. I know, deep down, that’s not the best way to grow and mature.

A friend of mine raises butterflies. I had often heard about the struggle that comes before the beautiful winged creature emerges from the cocoon but had never witnessed it until one day when I visited her home.

It’s hard to watch. This poor, almost nondescript little thing keeps writhing and struggling, and although it makes no sound, one can imagine the gasps and groans it might emit during the ordeal. I’ve been told if you interrupt the process, even to gently pull the edges back to make the space wider, you will prevent the worm from becoming a butterfly. What will emerge, with your assistance, will be something more than a caterpillar, but not quite a butterfly. With no identity or purpose of its own, it will wither and die.

During the struggle, fluid is forced into the butterfly’s wings, pumping in strength and defining their shape. “If you touch a wing and make a small dent, the wing will harden in that shape, and it won’t function the way it should,” my friend explained.

Once out of the cocoon, the new creature instinctively crawls laboriously to a place where it can literally “hang out” for a while. During that time, it gains strength, and when it’s ready, the wings begin to move ever so slightly. With a little practice, the butterfly senses its new identity and begins to fly. It’s now ready to take on wind, rain and the job of finding its own food. What became the end of the caterpillar was, in reality, the beginning for the butterfly.

I’m starting to believe it’s the same with every situation we face. I think there’s a lesson enveloped in the cocoon of every problem, crisis or ordeal we face. The struggle brings the strength to take the next step. If we try to force something to happen or to interrupt the struggle and avoid the pain, the process of new birth will not unfold as it should.

I think the trick is to focus on the knowledge that no matter what’s happening to us, something new is in the process of emerging. We may not know what that is, but we will rejoice when that new identity comes. It takes faith, and for me, that’s the little ray of light that flickers — ever so faintly at times, but it’s there. If we keep moving toward it, faith will lead us to the new level of growth and development.


Text Only
  • life dr Wellness Wednesday: Adding an ‘I’ to TEAM

    Erica Tuckwiller is pediatrician with a deep-seated passion for changing the course of the childhood obesity epidemic.

    “As a physician, good nutrition is one of the biggest challenges I face in the care of our children and I actually have been involved in the fight against childhood obesity beginning with my senior thesis early in my college career at WVU,” she stated.


    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • bob thompson The jazz man

    If Bob Thompson’s 30-year career as a professional musician has taught him anything, it’s that there are really only two kinds of music.


    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Leave a good legacy, and respect others’

    The death this week of the Rev. Jerry Falwell led to a network and cable blitz of commentaries on his life. We’ve been bombarded with a flurry of eulogies, criticisms, apathetic shrugs and lots of news footage regarding Falwell’s faith and foibles.


    July 26, 2014

  • 072314 Life CrossFit 4.jpg Crossfit Nation: Working out the WOD way

    Just as fashion trends come and go, so do fitness fads, and Cyndie Chinn had tried them all.

    July 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • downsize 1 Living large in smaller spaces

    How is it possible that as your nest gets emptier, your garage gets fuller? Living off the grid sounds tantalizing — the extreme version of paring down. But are you ready for solar panels and growing your own groceries or would a smaller home do the trick?

    July 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • Relishing the faith of little children

    July 19, 2014

  • Guns 1 ‘Guns’ for Life

    With the latest World Health Organization figures showing global life expectancy increasing from 64 years in 1990 to 70 years in 2011, staying healthy enough to add quality to the quantity of life is an important consideration.

    July 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • coconut 4 Crack open the power of the coconut

    Now let’s get this straight …
      We know about Parrotheads. And Cheeseheads. But when did Coconut Heads become cool?
    Move over, argan — you are so last season. Another exotic oil is taking lead role in everything from shampoo to weight-loss supplements. That cast-iron skillet seasoning, stretch-mark banishing essence of the hour is — coconut oil.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Free summer serenade concert to be held

    Aurora Celtic, sponsored by Ivy & Stone, presents the free Summer Serenade concert Saturday at 6 p.m. on the Brown House lawn in Summersville.

    July 13, 2014

  • WVU Extension: Healthy summer eating tips for all occasions

    Summer and early fall are the times of year for family reunions, potluck picnics, pool parties and various other celebrations where we like to share food.

    July 13, 2014