Saving One Worm

Yesterday I saved the life of a worm.

I don’t know why I did it, or whether the act had any meaning. I just followed an impulse.

The worm was writhing on the sidewalk halfway between the grass on one side and on the other. I stepped over it, noting the nearby carcasses of other dead worms that had not made it across the concrete.

Too bad, I thought, this one will die just like the others—but that’s the way life goes for worms. (Why does a worm cross the sidewalk? To get to the other side?)

I felt some guilt about the worm struggling on the hot sidewalk. Why? It was just a worm.

But something said strongly, “Go back,” and so I did. I picked the creature up and flung it into the grass.

Did the worm appreciate my help? I don’t think so. It fought me when I picked it up.

Did it actually survive? Or was it too far gone after its struggle? Was it already near the end of its life anyway? Did it become food for some sharp-eyed bird 30 seconds later? I’ll never know.

So why bother?

I couldn’t explain it to myself. Crawling creatures don’t usually concern me much. Spiders and insects are OK if they stay outside, but they aren’t allowed to live in our house. Death to mosquitoes, and to flies that buzz in my face and insist on examining my food up close.

So why worry about one worm?

Maybe it was seeing life struggling to survive, and knowing that this time at least there was something I could do to help.

(Parenthetically, I penned these thoughts earlier on a pad of paper while I had no access to my computer. Only just now, as I type them into my laptop, does this thought occur to me: there may be people all around me who are struggling with the heat and pain of trials, who could use a little help just to make it through life one more day.)

May I always give in to that impulse to support life.

 

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