A Lesson from an Inchworm

23 Jun

I’m contemplating making a major lifestyle change that would mean giving up a perfectly good job for one with no guaranteed income: writing. Thinking about it consumes my every waking moment. I’m worried that if I make the wrong decision, my family will suffer. On the other hand, I’m certain my passion to write is God-inspired, and was intended for more than a hobby.

As I ponder, one particular memory keeps running through my mind of the inchworinch_wormm we saw at the bus stop before school let out for the summer. It was a minor event, but it won’t let me go, because as part of my morning prayer that day, I had asked God to give me eyes to see him.

My son and I were early to the bus stop, for a change. In the morning stillness, we sat in the car chatting and watching the trees sway with the breeze. He saw it first, hovering in front of our car. It took my ancient eyes a bit longer to focus. There was nothing unusual about him—you know—a tiny green critter about an inch long. He was creeping up a gossamer thin strand of silk toward some luscious-looking (to him anyway, I suppose) green leaves.

“He’s doomed,” my son said, with that teenagers-know-everything voice of authority. “Some kid is gonna come flying past and knock him down.”

So we watched. One-by-one, children would arrive and join the group waiting beneath the tree. The young boys, all laid back and cool, would saunter casually onto the scene. The girls, a bit more animated, raced in with a spring in their step, shrieking enthusiastic greetings at friends they hadn’t seen since…well, the day before.

Still he climbed, despite the blustering wind, and oblivious to the increasing activity, which occasionally stirred up gusts so strong they sent the silk strand nearly horizontal. He focused on those leaves above, intent on reaching the goal, and climbed. Inch-by-inch.

My son said good-bye and left the car, stationing himself near the inchworm as a buffer against the children dashing past. He hung back, even after the bus came roaring onto the scene. The inchworm was nearly six-feet in the air by then, within about three feet from the branch. My son took one last look around before turning to give me a victorious thumbs-up before bounding aboard.

I waited until long after the bus took off, watching this precious critter and thinking about his lot. Eventually, he made it to the branches, but what if he hadn’t?  I’m relatively certain he would have started over again. And again, if need be. Because that’s what he was made to do. It’s his purpose.

So what’s my point? That we all have a purpose—something that makes us feel exactly right when we’re doing it. A gift, a talent, a unique capability. Some of us employ that gift, and some make it a hobby, while others stuff it away until “some day.”

My purpose is to write. I’ve tried many times to kick start a writing career, but I’ve been buffeted by life’s winds, and occasionally knocked to the ground. Today, however, I can see that branch within reach. I know I’m supposed to inch forward. If that little ol’ caterpillar can do it, so can I.

So, it is with great excitement, and hope, and fear, that I make this announcement: Yesterday I sent my first story to a publisher, and next weekend I’m embarking on a new adventure that I hope will turn into a book. I will get there, inch by inch.

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