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Hope For The Flowers by Trina Paulus

Updated on April 16, 2016

The title of the book, Hope For The Flowers, speaks for itself. It tells me that beautiful things, like flowers, await those who hope for, believe, and look for them. Caterpillars are meant to be butterflies. If not, the author puts it, there would be no flowers. In finding ourselves and our purpose, we can be happy who we are without dragging others down.

Hope for the flowers! It just takes time. Here are the phases of someone’s journey to self-discovery.

It is a story of a caterpillar named Stripe, who struggles to become who he really is. He meets fellow crawler, Yellow, along the way. Stripe is a bit stubborn, while Yellow is intuitive.

What transpires as soon as Stripe reaches the bottom of the towering pillar for the second time is compelling; far from the revulsion one may feel during his lonely climb.

Is the climb worth it?

It could be yes to some, while to others it is a resounding no. He discovers more about himself, others, and life itself.

It is noteworthy how Paulus plots the conflict and struggles in simple and direct fashion. She addresses all Stripes out there like herself. She takes me, as a reader, to where she was before she believed in becoming “somebody,” and shares the emotions that go with it - excitement, security, fear, confusion, boredom, dissatisfaction, frustration, anger, courage, love, and hope.

It might look like another children’s story, but this book is dedicated to young adults and oldies who are young at heart. They can elaborate more what author Trina Paulus wants to say in her simple lines, but I do not mind reading it to a four-year old at bedtime. Not much explaining to do for a child other than to remember two lovely caterpillars climbing a caterpillar pillar.

"Hello world."

Take note of Yellow and Stripe's journey:

Stripe, first of all, comes out of an egg that sheltered him for quite some time and welcomes the world afresh, without worries but to eat leaves.

We were all babies once, oblivious to what awaits us. We said hello to the world with our cries day and night. We protested for mother’s milk earlier on and gradually swallowed solid foods when we were toddlers. We were nurtured and protected from harm. It was a carefree living. And eating has not stopped since unless, of course, there is a holy banquet prepared for us in the afterlife, but it is another story.

“It’s getting dull.”

Soon enough he gets tired of eating. Boredom sets in. So he goes his way and discovers new things until he spots crawlers going up a caterpillar pillar and follows it.

Stripe takes the risk just like us. It is either we leap before we look or look before we leap depending on how daring we can be. We do not know exactly the outcome but we go for it. Our natural curiosity leads us to places we have never been and do the things we never imagined doing. There must be something more out there. Maybe we will find what we are looking for.

“Where are we going?”

Exactly. Where are we going Stripe? Nobody can tell because everybody is rushing and climbing. There is a lot of pushing, kicking, and stepping on all sides. And so it is best to just go with flow, anyway, that is what everybody else is doing. It is unnecessary to ask.

Stripe searches for “something” he does not know exactly. What is more, he depends on others to tell him but to no avail because they do not know either. He is left on his own. Perhaps, it is better if he asks himself first. Where am I going? But still it is the climb. Climbing we do.

"Hi Yellow.”

Yellow thinks climbing is harder when alone what more with crawlers pushing like nobody knows nobody and caring for no one until she sees the kindness in Stripe. When she finds him different, she realizes climbing without knowing what is up there is nonsense. Stripe realizes it, too.

Love is in the air. They go down the pillar hand in hand and save themselves. They have each other and they live comfortably, that is important. Maybe that is also what is important for us, enough to give up what we are holding on for so long thinking it is not worth it anymore. Maybe all we need is someone who treats us with importance. Oh well.

“There must be still more to life.”

Stripe is restless. He is not satisfied until he gets to the top of the pillar. Does it ring a bell? We become restless, too, when we abandon what could have been a promising endeavor.

We do not stay put where we should because we cannot be satisfied just like that. Stripe must do it. We must do it, or else. Pursuing we do. There is a sense of enjoyment but not really enjoying to the fullest, like there is an inner longing in the clouds.

He goes up the pillar with other crawlers, this time, without Yellow. His climb, he thinks, is worth it, once he reaches the top and sees beyond the clouds. It is the instinct to get high. It is what everybody else is doing in the first place although not knowing exactly what is up there. Climbing is the only way, he insists.

“None of us can get any higher without getting rid of them.”

But Stripe has a different mentality. He simply wants to reach the top of the pillar that is all, no hurt feelings or competition whatsoever. It cannot be denied during the climb, Stripe has stepped on another to get higher though. He steps on Yellow on the first climb. Blame him not. Right, it is a tough life so go through it. So does Yellow.

“What in the world do I really want?”

Yellow asks. At what point did we take seriously this question?

Some of us do not have the answers until now. Urgency prods Stripe to climb the pillar once again, while Yellow stays behind for reasons she cannot clearly figure out much more explain to him. She holds back for what she believes in even if it is seems a bit of a struggle. She only knows there is no point in climbing anymore. It is not what it is supposed to be. We walk blindly.

"It’s what you are meant to become. It flies with beautiful wings and joins the earth to heaven.”

Maybe sometimes all we need is a person who believes in us before we are convinced we can be who we are for the right reasons at the right time.

Fortunately, Yellow meets a grey-haired caterpillar.

“Look at us worms! We couldn’t be butterflies inside. Make the best of it and enjoy caterpillar living!”

Crawlers on climb probably think others should be in their places since there is no other place to go. There cannot be anything grander for they have never been there. More so, they cannot accept others are better than them they pull them down.

Maybe, too, they have lost hope so it follows there is no more hope for others and in others. Also, they are just selfish to let others shine and be at their best or they simply do not know how to give others their winning moments.

There are crawlers who do not want others to be happy. They hinder the growth of others and suck up their energies. Reasons vary.

“How can I believe there’s a butterfly inside you or me when all I see is a fuzzy worm?”

We sometimes doubt like Yellow. We cannot reconcile what we see around us to what is possible.

It is too much to take. There is so much going on, worse, as if everything else is falling apart. Nevertheless, Yellow believes what the grey-haired caterpillar said. She does what she never thought she can do but all the while it is there, within her: make a cocoon. Happy we are when we realize what we are meant to do.

“If you change, you can fly and show him how beautiful butterflies are. Maybe he will want to become one, too.”

After some time, Stripe, at the peak of the pillar, sees a beautiful creature hovering in his direction and looking intently at him. Its gaze seems familiar. It moves him down the pillar happy and excited as if a light came upon him. Suddenly, it changes how he sees others. He looks straight at them like friends. He cannot contain it.

Find out more what becomes of Stripe; what Yellow shows him.

“I saw a butterfly – there can be more to life.”

Photo c/o Flickr under Creative Commons-license.

© 2011 chelle


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      arkin manudal 3 years ago

      malalim ang kahulugan ng kwentong ito

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      Trixel 6 years ago

      I badly need the full story of this :(

      My professor will interview me about this story. Please help! here's my email add

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      Wendy 6 years ago

      I read this story whil on a self-help journey, early 1980s, then to my children and to many other children When I worked in ECE. I am passing it on again to my grandchildren now and to others in electronic social networking. Thank you so very much for this clear and beautiful story...always lifts my spirit, reminds me to go for it and raises my heart with hope.