Monday, July 25, 2011
“…for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” –Phil. 4:11
OK, I know the topic is kind of gross. But hang in there as we discuss…worms! Right now, as we continue through the warm weather of July and August, a strange is happening- the worms are coming out after I water the yard. I can tell by the amount of birds snacking on them, but mostly I can tell by the amount of worms on our driveway. Shriveled and dying, the worms there aren't in very good shape. Are they coming out to avoid drowning? Or do they just feel like they have somewhere better to go?
Dr. Dennis Linden, Cindy Hale, and other worm experts say that worms do NOT surface to avoid drowning. In fact, they come to the surface during rains so they can move over land. The temporarily wet conditions give worms a chance to move safely to new places. Since worms breathe through their skin, the skin must stay wet in order for the oxygen to pass through it. After rain or during high humidity are safe times for worms to move around without dehydrating. It is true that, without oxygen, worms will suffocate, but earthworms can survive for several weeks under water, providing there is sufficient oxygen in the water to support them.
So why do they choose to scoot across my driveway, only to shrivel up half way across? The answer is simple. They’re moving to a new place. If I could have a conversation with the worms before their journey, I’d encourage them to stay put. I’d remind them that, although the other side of the driveway looks attractive, dying half way across isn’t worth it.
But a worm’s need for something better isn't much different from ours. It seems we’re constantly comparing ourselves to the “Jones’s” and wanting a better yard. It seems we’re constantly weighing the journey across the driveway against the possibility of getting ahead. Contentment so easily escapes us. The grass does seem to always look greener on the other side of the driveway.
As parents, training toward contentment begins early. Particularly at Christmas time, media works hard to convince kids (and adults) that they can't live without whatever they’re selling. Teens are bombarded with commercials about gadgets and clothing. It seems that all good marketing exists to convince us to slither across that driveway with the promise of something better on the other side.
“Sure, the grass I’m living in is okay, but imagine how much better it could be!” That’s what we’re led to believe. The truth is, comparing yards is never a productive activity. We either convince ourselves that all the surrounding yards are better than ours or that our yard is the worse one in the neighborhood. Until we bloom where we’re planted, we’ll always be looking for a better yard.
We need to remember to teach our kids to bloom right where they are at the moment. We need to remind our kids that circumstances will never be perfect. We need to remind our kids that every yard has a few weeds. We need to remind our kids of the old saying that “where we are is where we’re planted.”
So enjoy your yard. Feel free to slither a bit, but realize the grass you’re living in is just fine.
By Eric Joseph Staples ©