This parable is the second guest posting here at Open Heart, Open Hands. My friend Paddy shared this parable with me the other day and he gave me permission to upload it. Paddy is a phenomenal local potter. He comes regularly to this Hermitage for study, prayer and to share his gifts with others by teaching them to engage with clay and the process of creating pottery. I hope you enjoy this post by Paddy!
There once was a worm who lived in Africa near a village. He liked the chatter of voices, and especially the singing. Once in a while he would come to the surface and perceive a vast space and huge things moving. Sometimes there was worship, and from these and the discussions that followed, he became aware of a creator and commander of this immensity.
One day, the theme was about being a profitable servant, and this left the worm uneasy. With their vast power, people could do so much. What could he, a mere worm, contribute? All he could do was to eat soil in tiny amounts, and being underground, no one could see what he was doing anyway. In fact he became so depressed, he wished that God, whatever that was, would end his life. The best way, he reasoned was to get to the surface and be trodden on by some animal.
Then the elephant recounted that once, when young, her family group was at starvation point when they came across a small area where the lusciousness of the grass had saved her. She observed when she pulled up the grass that there were many worms around the roots. “I thought then,” She said. “That you were part of the grass itself, but now I am wiser. Your presence in it made all the difference and that saved me.”
This confused the worm. He had assumed the elephant was God. Did God eat grass and almost starve?
“What do I have to do?” He found himself asking.
“Be what you are.” came the answer. “It is all you can do and it is all that is required of you.”
So he began to consume soil again. It was warm from the sun and life felt good again. What was warming to a far greater extent was when he realised that, as he began his journey upwards to the stone, somehow the elephant began to think about the early stages of her life.