The caterpillar had only been chewing though leaves, chewing and crawling as he had for his whole short life. Chewing and crawling – these were the only things he knew.
Then he felt something he had never felt before. There was a weight on him. He could not move. His legs were frozen. A feeling ran through him, chill and warmth at once, something slipping in between all the segments of his long narrow body. Then the weight was gone. Still he could not move.
Once he could move again he returned to chewing and crawling, for these were the only things he knew. But the leaves tasted strange to him now. They did not satisfy him. Day by day their taste faded, yet day by day he hungered more. He ate and ate until his skin grew tight, but still he was not satisfied. Once, at the end of a leaf, his hunger was so frenzied that he tried to eat the stem. He cried out in desperation and despair.
At his cry the other caterpillars came to ask him what was wrong. He looked at the other caterpillars, fat and happy, slow, stupid crawlers and slow, patient eaters, and burning heat rose in him. He screamed at them and cursed them. “Chew and crawl! Crawl and chew! Leaf after leaf, all the same! Wake up. This is not all there is. This can’t be all there is. You’re all the same! You all want me to be just like you, nothing, to be nothing, to do nothing, just blend in, just hide, just pretend not to exist.”
They stared at him with blank, hurt stares. Their fat bodies waved and jiggled on their little legs. He hated them the more for being hurt by his hate.
“You’re all disgusting. You’re all pathetic. You’re just holding me back with your stupid crawling and your stupid chewing. I won’t do this anymore. I’m leaving. Nobody follow me.”
He left and nobody followed him.
His days were all his own now. He spent them chewing and crawling, but now he could chew and crawl in his own way. He wasn’t like them anymore. Something had happened to him. Something had touched him and set him apart. He had been chosen for something – chosen, him! So all alone he chewed and crawled and waited for the thing to come, waited for his destiny to arrive, the grand destiny he knew was prepared for him.
Sometimes at first he would stop, stop and scream at no one in particular, just to scream out the rage that filled him at all the fat stupid caterpillars and all their stupid chewing and stupid crawling. But now, even as his thinning body began to swell again, his rage was softening. Instead of desperation he felt clarity, and instead of rage, he felt pity. He had been chosen, he knew, but he had not just been chosen – he had been elevated. He was above them in every way. He would look down on the caterpillars to watch their slow mindless chewing and crawling. Sometimes he would laugh, sometimes cry. There was so much more, yet they couldn’t see it. They were so small, so trapped, so limited. He, he alone, was free.
He could feel his destiny coming. It was close now. Chewing and crawling lost their interest for him. In deep shadow his body burned from an inner sun. He paused in long meditative reveries. He could feel the imminence of some great change. He would meet it with acceptance and gratitude, thankful to have been the one chosen, thankful to be the one who woke up. He no longer slept. His dreams and his waking sight fused until it seemed that everything he saw contained everything he could see. The moment was closer now. The moment was here. The clarity, the clarity hurt. The heat, the heat, he seemed to melt. He could not move but he was moving – there was movement – something moved – something stretched and twisted – something gave way –
Sometime later, in jewel colors still slick with caterpillar-stuff, a wasp took flight.
Moral: The God reveals but not as a Reward.