My nine-year-old was up early and already outside this morning by the time I got back from walking the dog. He was crouched over the sidewalk picking up the earthworms that were crawling across it, and placing them back into the grass.
I stopped for a few moments to watch the Worm Rescuer at work He moved slowly, speaking softly and coaxing them into accepting his help. “It’s going to be okay. Just hang on and we’ll get you back into the grass and the shade. The sun is coming and it’s hot and you’ll get cooked on the sidewalk. Just hang on and let me help you.”
Of course, earthworms don’t have ears, and I don’t know if they’d understand English even if they could hear him, but they clearly didn’t trust him. The moment he touched the guy in front of him, it became a twisting, writhing blur that was nearly impossible to catch. More than once he stopped trying to be quite so gentle, and pushed them until they flipped themselves into the grass.
Once all the sidewalks around us were worm free, he came in for breakfast.
He was halfway through his Cheerios when he said, “Mom, I’m kind of like God to the worms, aren’t I?” He chewed and swallowed and then continued, “I’m so big they can’t see me. They’re just sliming their way across the sidewalk perfectly happy, not even knowing that the sun is coming up, and they’re about to dry out and die on concrete. Just dried up cooked worm. But they don’t even see the sun, they’re just thinking it sure is easier to crawl on sidewalk than have to go around the grass.”
He took a swig from his cup, and swiped at the milk mustache on his upper lip.
“They can’t see the danger that I can see, all they know is that I’m big and scary, and big and scary things like to eat worms. So they flip around and get bruised and fight me because they’re not smart enough to know help when they feel it.”
“Do you think God feels that way, Mom? Like He can see the danger coming and tries to reach down and move us out of the way, but then we freak out and act all crazy, so sometimes all he can do is nudge us to the edge of safety and hope we can figure it out? Because people get scared of the big-ness of Him?”
“I think that how I feel about the worms is how God must feel about us.”
And with that, the “god of worms” went outside to see how many more he could coax to safety before it was too late.