I was just out on the porch at work getting a breath of fresh air and watching the rain. I often go there to think during the day. It gives me a moment of solitude and time to reground myself during a busy day. The porch is concrete and there is a steel railing bolted into the porch. It is supported by steel posts.
Today I looked down on the edge of the porch and saw a tiny snail there. It seemed to be resting; enjoying the rain. I looked away a minute then looked back and noticed that the snail was moving. Ever so slowing it was inching along the edge of the porch. It made me think of my journey through grief. As it inches….I also inch through each day. Suddenly the snail disappeared behind the post. Sometimes my grief disappears for a time. I stood there waiting for the snail to emerge on the other side of the post.
I finally got impatient. To get past the post, the snail would have to transverse a crack in the concrete. I looked over the railing to see the snail had crossed over the crack and was resting on the other side. That is the same with grief. We find cracks or obstacles in our way. We fight our way through then often have to stop to rest when that particular battle is done.
The snail continued moving but then suddenly it rolled up into a ball and fell back into the crack. It then began its journey down the crack to the edge of the porch. Once it reaches the end of the porch it will have to face the unknown. It will, either, fall off the porch into the bushes and eventually reach the ground or it will have to turn and battle it’s way out of the crack and continue its journey down the porch.
The snail never stopped as those of us in grief never stop. Sometimes we get stuck in our grief. Sometimes we travel along in the valleys of our grief. Sometimes we stand on the edge of awareness not knowing whether to jump off into the unknown or to stay with the familiar path we have already traveled.
What happened to the snail? I don’t know. I finally had to go back inside before the snail got to the edge of the porch. It moves too slowly to wait to see the ending. Whichever way it goes I know that the snail won’t give up. Neither will I. I will keep inching along through my grief. Sometimes I will fall back. Sometimes I will jump off into the unknown.
I know that one of God’s littlest creatures gave me a gift in the rain this morning. Like the snail I’m progressing slowly. Like the snail I’ll eventually arrive at my destination. And, like the snail, I don’t yet know what that destination will be. I also know that, like the snail, when I get to the end of this journey I will continue on to new destinations. Through my journeys I will learn and grow along the way.
I’m grateful to that little snail for the lesson it gave me this rainy morning. It would have been so easy to never notice the snail at all. I hope I continue to notice Life’s tiniest lessons.
Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs.
They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months
they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond.
They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to
lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it
gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.
"Look!" said one of the water bugs to another. "one of our colony is
climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?" Up, up, up it
slowly went....Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight.
Its friends waited and waited but it didn't return...
"That's funny!" said one water bug to another. "Wasn't she happy here?"
asked a second... "Where do you suppose she went?" wondered a third.
No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water
bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. "I have an
idea". "The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to
come back and tell us where he or she went and why."
"We promise", they said solemnly.
One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the
plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before
he knew what was happening, he had broke through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above. When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn't believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings...The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!
Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt
exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted
happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to
the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water
bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before. The dragonfly remembered the promise: "the next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why." Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water...
"I can't return!" he said in dismay. "At least, I tried. But I can't keep
my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know
me in my new body. I guess I'll just have to wait until they become
dragonflies too. Then they'll understand what has happened to me, and where I went."
And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun
Thank you God, for the story of the water bugs and the dragonflies.