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Come along!

We're off to another world.  It's very much like ours.  See the tall trees, the colorful flowers and lots of winding rivers full of cool drinking wter.

It could be just like home...but wait!

Where are the people?  We see only ones, white ones, yellow ones and red ones.

Some are very athletic.  They wiggle along at super speeds.  Others are bookworms.

One thing they all agree on, though is:  "We just love being caterpillars!"

The caterpillars are proud of their land...its tall trees, colorful flowers and winding cool rivers.

Life is good.  Oh, sometimes there are flights.  Sick caterpillars may have to visit their doctors once in awhile and watch their diets.

Like all creatures, they have happy times and sad times.

One happy time is when a baby caterpillar is welcomed into the community.

But then, a sad time is when a loved one leaves.

This is what happened to Joe Squiggler, a special caterpillar, who was liked by everyone in town.

He too loved being just what his Creator made him...a caterpillar.  He loved all the tall trees, the colorful flowers and cool rivers.

He loved everyone in the town, no matter what this color, size or job.

As he grew older, he quit his job and spent most of his time in the park teaching and telling stories to the local caterpillar children.

Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months.  Joe moved slower and slower.  He became tired earlier each day.  His skin toughened and became stiff.

He and his friends knew his days as a caterpillar were coming to an end.  He looked different, but his smile was always the same.

One morning Joe's friend Henry Crawler, went to awaken him and offer him some warm green broth.

He knocked at Joe's door.

"Hey, Joe," he called.  "Let me in. I have some of the best cabbage leaf broth you've ever tasted, but it's getting cold."

Joe didn't answer.  Henry became quite worried and squeezed in under the door.

Inside he saw Joe...or what Joe had been.  Tears streamed down Henry's face.  He would never talk with Joe again, he thought.

Soon the whole town knew of Joe's passing.  Their newspaper wrote long stories about what a great caterpillar Joe had been.  He would be missed very much.

As was the custom, a big farewell ceremony was planned.  Afterwards, Joe would be buried.

On the day of the ceremony, about every caterpillar in town came to say good-bye to Joe, now lifeless and cold.  Many cried.

"Poor Joe," they sobbed.  "It is too bad he had to leave us."

Meanwhile, high in the sky above them, flew a beautiful butterfly...taller than the planet's tall trees, more colorful than its flowers and more cool than its rivers.

The butterfly saw the sad ceremony below.  They were about to put Joe into the ground.

The real Joe, though, was not the caterpillar, or cocoon, as his body was now called.  He was not that lifeless thing everyone felt so sorry for.

The real Joe was the free and graceful butterfly above the crowd.  

How Joe wanted to tell the other caterpillars not to cry!  He was happier now than he had ever been.

But the caterpillars would only look down.

"Hey, all you...look up here,"  Joe shouted in his muffled butterfly way.  "I'm up here!"

He proudly glided through some figure eights.

"I can fly!"

As he fluttered over the scene, he decided that they would know of is happiness only after each of them shed his cocoon, too.

Still...if he could only share the news of his new freedom with his friends!

He wanted to tell them about how beautiful the planet looked from where he was...where there were no fights...sicknesses or sad times.

He glided down to a lily and thought a moment.

"I'm happy I was a caterpillar," he whispered again.  "It was a good life.  but Holy Maloney, it was nothing like what I am now!

"When I was a caterpillar, my Creator was just getting me ready for something better---more fun and exciting.  

"He made me into a butterfly!



What makes you feel better about death?

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