Last week’s rainstorms put me in a gloomy mood, so I don my raincoat and vinyl boots and walk outside with my dog. I have often told others to get outdoors, to seek nature as a way to heal, to find joy – so I take my advice.
Two minutes into the walk I laugh, watching my three-year-old hound-mix Tanner, his hunter instinct exploring the wiggling worms that seem to multiply under our feet.
Memories float back of the night expeditions my father and I take with our flashlights to the flowerbeds outside the back door of my childhood home. We hunt for the worms that will come out of the dampened ground after the rain – choosing the fattest ones for our fishing trip.
If I pull too hard trying to free them from the ground they inhabit, they snap – both ends twisting with their new-found freedom. This is a strange thing to witness as a child; the ability for a worm when cut in half to once again become whole, to grow into two worms!
One of my favorite daily readings come from Mark Nepo’s book entitled, The Book of Awakening and today’s reflection (May 21) is about worms. He talks about this mystery of the worm being cut in half and still able to become whole and then he asks this question:
“What is it in how the worm lives that allows it to grow from its pain, and how might we translate that to being human?”
Mark goes on to suggest, “…the secret to growing from our wounds is to live close to the earth, to live with our hearts and minds and bellies always in touch – both inside and out – with that which is larger than we are.”
Have you survived being cut in two by the pain of this world?
When I experience the pain that comes with grief I tend to go on an inward journey, often needing time alone, to tuck myself into the ground where no light is visible.
I want to bury myself, to squirm in the mud even though difficult and to take the time I need to process what has happened. I thrash about, trying to give voice to my pain. I rely on the prayers of the faithful to connect with “that which is larger than we are.”
Eventually, with the gift of time and the resiliency of the human spirit, I find myself slowly, inch-by-inch crawling up through the darkness. Although ripped in half, just like the worm, I have the tools to heal into something new. I make the choice to release myself from the soil and to enter the light.
What has torn your world apart? What did you do to heal?