I have always loved butterflies. I think their metamorphosis is so beautiful and such a lovely metaphor for change and growth. But, since I learned the life-cycle of monarch butterflies, I have been deeply fascinated with their journey. Did you know a monarch’s migration life-cycle passes through four generations before it is complete? What can God’s creatures teach me? Three things really stick out. First, lineage is important to success. Second, there is a super generation that is stronger and travels farther than the others. Third, monarchs have an inherent navigation system using light to lead them.
Why is lineage important? Monarchs are dependent on the 3 generations before them to start their journey back to Mexico. Each delicate monarch travels 50 miles in wind and storms, sometimes as high as a mile in the sky, and eventually lays eggs on milkweed to start the next generation. Isn’t that amazing? Elder Uchtdorf in a conference talk said “The Savior invites us, each day, to set aside our comforts and securities and join Him on the journey of discipleship. There are many bends in this road. There are hills, valleys, and detours. There may even be metaphorical spiders, trolls, and even a dragon or two.” We are all on a journey like the monarch. Have you ever considered how your previous generations are impacting your journey? Increasingly more studies show the effects of intergenerational trauma on future generations. If we can show how trauma from previous generations influences us, doesn’t that also mean characteristics such as joy, optimism, honesty, discipline, and diligence, may also be passed to us? What family patterns and behaviors do you see in your generation? Are there things you would like to change or break? Are there behaviors you want to embrace and pass on? What is the Savior inviting you to do?
As the monarch continues this miraculous journey through three generations, eventually the fourth generation is born. Even though their DNA is the same as earlier generations they are part of a super generation, blessed to be stronger and fly 10 times farther than the previous three generations. It is often said, we have come to earth in the Latter Days when Satan is working very hard to disrupt the work of the Lord. Are you part of the super generation? Do you have the strength, the character, and the testimony to be an influence for good, to withstand the temptations of the adversary? I want to live my life as though I am part of the super generation. To me that means I must keep Him at the forefront every day. Whether that is with scripture reading, praying for guidance, healing my own emotional roadblocks and wounds, or behaving in a kind and loving way. He is the salve and The Way.
Speaking of The Way, brings me to the third fascinating thing about monarchs. Scientists have no idea why, but they all migrate to the same place in Mexico. Millions of them! Somehow their internal navigation system leads them home, high in the oyamel fir trees found in Mexico. Monarch’s eyes have special cells that can find the sun using polarized light, even on a cloudy day. Their draw to this area of Mexico has been theorized to be due to a magnetic pull. I think God blessed us all with a similar homing beacon. One disguised as a passion or yearning for something better, something more. Nowadays we have many things to satisfy the yearning of our hearts. But they are cheap replacements like drugs, alcohol, social media likes, even sugar and carbs. Just like the monarchs, who get disrupted by storms, men destroying their forests, and pesticides on milkweed, we can be disrupted. But our homing device is innate and always there pointing us toward the light. Attending the temple and feeling the spiritual light in the celestial room is also a metaphor illustrating transformation and helping us connect to our divinity and light. Elder Uchtdorf in the same conference talk went on to say, “if you stay on the path and trust in God, you will eventually find the way to your glorious destiny and back to your heavenly home.”
I am determined to go to Mexico, where the monarchs migrate. I want to sit and revel in the reverence of being with millions that belong to a super generation. The ones that were stronger, that overcame all the challenges, flew 10 times farther, following the light pulling them home. I want to see them grouped together keeping each other warm until it is time for them to begin again.
How apropos that these butterflies are named monarch. I am committed to honoring my spiritual lineage, owning my innate divinity, and following the light that keeps me on a path, leading me home, and helping others to do the same. Come with me.