The Struggling Worm

Have you ever gone to a bridal shower, baby shower or other gathering and you have to play a game to get to know the other people at the party? Personally, I hate those games (ok, maybe “hate” is too strong a word–how about “dread”). I went to one of those parties recently. The game required everyone to write down something about themselves that no one else knew. Then the “mom-to-be” had to guess who wrote each one. It’s like the girls giving the party knew we all had deep dark secrets and they were using this event as a way to trick us (or guilt us) into revealing them. Otherwise we’d come off as anti-social.

I’d like to rebel against games like this.

At the risk of seeming boring I want to write something like, “I was born on a Tuesday.” That would be my way of saying, “No deep dark secrets here!” Of course by now you probably know that’s not true (the part about no secrets, not about being born on Tuesday–I actually have no idea what day of the week I was born, although I’m sure there’s an app for that). So in order to feed the need for personal dirt without revealing anything juicy, I wrote, “I used to have an eight-foot long pet boa constrictor named Fluffy.” It’s true.

A few weeks later, I was walking my dogs. It was early morning and sprinklers had been running in many of the yards. Suddenly I knew what I should write next time as my “secret”:

When I see worms that have been flushed out of the grass by rain or sprinklers, and they’re struggling to get to the grass on the other side of the sidewalk before they dry out and die, I pick them up and put them in the grass.

The perfect “secret” that would certainly make everyone second-guess playing that “game of secrets” ever again! Or they might decide to play the game but not invite me. In any case, at my last party with this game when the worm secret was revealed as mine, I would be asked: Why?

Why do I pick up worms to save them from almost certain death?

So on my early morning walk, I wondered. Is it because I like to root for the underdog? Is it because my conscience won’t let me walk by something that I could save without helping, even if it’s just a worm? Is it because I’d want someone to stop and help me (not that I believe I’ll ever be a worm, but you know what I mean)?

My final answer? It’s all of these.

I shout for the kid who isn’t as good as the others but still has the courage to stay on the field and try his hardest. I’m a sucker for all of the people-helping-people shows on TV, and usually I’ve soaked several kleenex by the end of the “reveal”. I’ll pull gum off someone’s shoe, tell a stranger they have a sticker on their back, and stop along the sidewalk to pick up struggling worm after struggling worm and move them to the grass before they die.

Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. Because I’d want someone to do it for me. And because I want to be different than others in our I’m-too-busy-and-too-important world who are unwilling to stop and do the little things.

The little things we do for others can make a big difference in their lives. And ours.

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12

May I pray?

God, thank you for the many people who have blessed each one of us in one way or another by doing little things for us. Please help us today to do something special for someone else. Whether it’s opening a door, helping someone with a heavy bag, or even just smiling and saying hello to someone who looks sad. Father, please give us the opportunity today, and move in our hearts to give us the nudge to do it. May our little things add up to be a big day of blessing for others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Q4U 1: Yes, it’s the dreaded one: What is one thing about you that no one else knows?

Or Q4U 2: What is a little thing someone did for you that had a big impact on your day or even your life?

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