Les Patterson??Ÿ?¦Ÿ??s Monday Morning Boost: Loving earthworms

A sidewalk crawling with earthworms after a Sunday morning rain in Hyde Park greeted Kevin Blotter as he walked out the church house doors. He had just finished an early morning church meeting when the crawling earthworms greeted him. A fisherman, Kevin’s first thought was to pick up the worms to add to his bait collection. But Sunday dress and time didn’t allow. So he hurried on his way.
Walking not far behind Kevin was Mario Durrant, the bishop at the time of their local congregation, who was greeted by the same sidewalk of crawling earthworms. As Kevin reached his truck, he noticed Mario bending over and picking up the earthworms and tossing them back on the grass.
As Kevin shared his observations of that rainy Sunday morning, I wondered why Mario went to the effort of throwing the worms back on the grass. Perhaps it was to keep the sidewalk clean for the mass of people soon to arrive. Or maybe it was to save the Sunday school teachers from the distraction of little boys playing with worms in class!
Or perhaps it was something more. As a veterinarian by profession, Mario has an obvious love of animals. Kevin felt tossing the worms to the safety of the grass was a simple extension of that love. And if Mario could extend his love to the earthworms on a wet sidewalk, then perhaps his love was also great enough to extend to all the people of his congregation, no matter who they were or what their life was like.
This reminded of the “Story of the Starfish.” Please enjoy one of my favorite versions, as told by anthropologist Loren Corey Eiseley.
“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”
Have a great Monday.  Thanks for letting me share.
Les Patterson
p.s. Take 15 minutes today to find your own way of tossing the worms (or the starfish) back to safety.



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