Life after

In a mother’s womb were two babies.

One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?”

The other replies, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”

“Nonsense,” says the other. “There is no life after delivery. What would that life be?”

“I don’t know, but maybe there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat with our mouths.”

The other says, “This is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eat with our mouths? Ridiculous. The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. Life after delivery is to be excluded. The umbilical cord is too short.”

“I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here.”

The other replies, “No one has ever come back from there. Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery it is nothing but darkness and anxiety and it takes us nowhere.”

Delivery Day arrived, and the first twin was born to great cheers and celebration. The second one was left alone in the dark…

from Henri Nouwen’s “Our Greatest Gift, A Meditation on Dying and Caring”

What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, the world calls a butterfly.