imaginal cells

I never studied it.  I never even really pondered it.  I just kinda thought I knew how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.  I thought that once it was all cocooned and in a deep sleep, its body got thinner while its wings began to sprout and the extra legs retract.  Clean.  Sensible.  Understandable.

Which is not even close.  Not remotely like what happens.  At all.

Actually, once inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar doesn’t merely slip into unconsciousness and transform.  Instead, its body dissolves from the inside out through the power of its own digestive juices. “The fluid breaks down the old caterpillar body into cells called imaginal cells. Imaginal cells are undifferentiated cells, which means they can become any type of cell. Many of these imaginal cells are used to form the new body.”

In order to be anything but a caterpillar, it first has to un-become what it was and dissolve into a mass of unrecognizable goo.  Only then, and quite miraculously, the imaginal cells — cells which could become anything — reorganize and make a butterfly.

I’ve had a lot of dreams in my life.  None of them have ever involved first becoming goo.  Thankfully, God works on me a little at a time.