You know that old proverb? The early bird catches the worm. Well, I wasn’t an early bird but I did ‘catch’ a worm with my trusty camera.
Yesterday about mid-morning, I stepped outside my front door onto the porch just to get a breath of fresh air and see how cold it was. Dreary, rainy, and overcast, the weather assaulted me and I noticed rain the night before had splashed up onto our covered concrete porch.
Since I never wear shoes inside my house, just my socks clothed my feet as I stood on the cold cement. And I don’t know what caused me to look down but I did.
And there it was. An eight-inch earthworm. What we call a fishing worm since they often are used for bait. A nightcrawler. I noticed smaller versions scattered on our sidewalk but this one was the king daddy of them all. Watching him inch his way slowly on the porch floor, I also realized that the smaller worms weren’t moving. They were really worm cadavers. Eww.
Earthworms used to cause me to shudder because a childhood friend would often pick them up from the ground, chase me, and throw the slimy things on me while I ran and screamed. I’ve overcome that as an adult since these creatures don’t make me bolt in terror anymore but still…don’t throw one on me.
That was my first thought.
My second thought – truly I wonder how my mind works and brings up such crazy memories but here goes – was a silly childhood song we used to sing in elementary school called the ‘hearse song.’ I’m sorry if I turn your stomach on this one, but the lyrics are as follows:
“The next time you see a hearse go by, don’t laugh or you may be the next one to die. They wrap you up in a clean, white sheet and bury you under six feet deep. The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout. Then one little worm who isn’t so shy crawls in your ear and comes out your eye. You turn a terrible, terrible green and pus comes out like whipping cream. You take the cream and spread your bread and that is what you eat when you’re dead.”
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. It was elementary school and you know how kids often love gross things – like earthworms.
Then the third thought entered my quirky mind. That worm mindlessly crawling on my front porch is kind of lost. A good three or four feet away from any soil, it just ever so slowly moved on a barren field of cement. Would it ever find its way back where it belonged?
Song lyrics entered my mind with my next thought and the words to an old hymn played in my head.
Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away…
It’s true you know. We are worms. We think we’re on solid footing, in familiar surroundings, just doing our own thing, satisfying self, then whoa. We slam on the brakes and look around and think to ourselves, ‘How in the world did I get here?’ In this slimy pit, in this place of despair, in this mire of sin.
We stray. We meander. We take a path that we thought would lead us exactly where we wanted to go but find we are sorely mistaken.
Out of our element. Perhaps even out of control. Down in the dirt, worms that we are.
Not all of us can claim to be like Winston Churchill who is quoted as saying, “We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow-worm.”
No, often I am not a glow-worm shedding light and goodness wherever I go. Instead, I’m just a lowly worm, a struggling human inching my way along on a path I wish I hadn’t chosen.
Times like that make me so very thankful that I don’t have to be in control of this world or even my very own. I worship and trust in the God who created the universe and knows exactly how to keep everything under control. Because He reigns over all. Because He knows each and every tidbit about every single one of us, glowing report or not, and He still loves us with an unfailing love.
And He knows how to lead me back to where He wants me to be on a path more loving, more kind, more gracious. I just have to listen and follow and come to the cross to have my burdens rolled away.
I don’t have to search willy-nilly to find my way like that earthworm,which had totally disappeared when I stepped outside onto my porch just 15 minutes later.
Worm that I am, God still loves me and never leaves me stranded alone. He promises that even though our earthly bodies turn to food for the worms once they have met their demise, there is more to come if we make just one trip to the cross of salvation.
There we lay down our burdens of sin and accept His gift of grace, His Son Jesus, the One who loved us beyond measure, enough to die for us on that old rugged cross. Because of that, the Author of life will provide us a much better edition in heaven.
Then I will glow but will no longer be a worm.
“The body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer, (Like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stript of its lettering and gilding), Lies here, food for worms; But the work shall not be lost, for it will (as he believed) appear once more in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the author.” ~ Benjamin Franklin’s epitaph which he wrote for himself in 1728.