I read a Rumi poem this past week with a phrase that reminded me of this parable I'd written. "Judge a moth by the beauty of its candle."
All moths love the moon. It is their strongest desire to reach it. They spend all day resting, so that when the night falls and the moon is risen, they can put all their efforts to lift upwards, higher and closer to it’s light. And when they become too weary, they rest. Satisfied by their efforts, and the knowledge that they will soon dance it it’s glow again.
Some moths, however, become distracted. They see brighter lights, warmer glows, and believe that they are much closer to their goal than they truly are. The glow of the streetlamp, the porchlight, the headlight, are moonlight to them. They become distracted and falsely content. They feel they have reached their goal, when really they have given up on it.
As they return each night to the false dream, they lose their strength. The goal is so near that they exercise little effort in achieving it, and most will no longer feel the true calling of the moonlight, so easily drowned out by the artificial glow the closer they are to it. And can you perceive the difference of the moth who sits under the artificial to that which ever strives, and is not distracted?
The moon is unachievable to the moth, but the dream of it, and the effort put forth to achieve it, keeps the moth from complacency and vulnerability. The quest gives the moth strength and experience, it enriches the life. It faces dangers and unknowns as it flies into the darkness, and puts itself at risk. But it also lives. Consider the moth not by it’s appearance, but by that which it is drawn to.