∼The Worm and The Elephant ∼ Parable by Paddy Rolleston

Paddy Rolleston at the Hermitage Potting wheel.
Paddy Rolleston at the  Hermitage Potting wheel.
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.

     A little later when he felt something big approaching, he made his way onto a stone. That way, he thought, he would be crushed and not merely pressed into the soil. He got onto the stone just in time. It was an elephant who noticed something unusual about the way the worm had moved. She stopped and asked what he was doing there. The worm was too unhappy to invent a cover story and blurted out just what he felt and what he hoped would happen to him.
After he had finished the elephant was silent. Then she said. “You may think you are of no value, and perhaps to yourself this may be true. But to me you are most important.” This astounded the worm who replied. “Me, of worth to you, impossible!”

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?

“Are you not God?” asked the worm. The elephant’s first thought was to reply. “Of course not, What a stupid idea!” But she restrained herself and became quiet, and began to think herself into the way things could look like from the worm’s point of view. After some moments she said. “I am as little in majesty to God as you may think yourself to me.”
     The worm replied quickly. “Then I must be of even less value to Him than I thought. I am obviously not worth His attention.” At this the elephant smiled. “The greatness of God,” She said. “Is revealed not only in the magnitude of His creation, but in His concern about every detail of it, including you and me. It is very many years since I have thought about how I almost died. It was only because I was thinking about that, that I noticed you and so did not tread on you. I am glad of this opportunity to show my gratitude to your distant cousins for saving my life.”
     Then she took up the stone carefully and put it in a shady and damp spot. She covered it gently with rich loose soil and went on her way. The worm was stunned. Instead of oblivion as he had hoped, he was suddenly in ideal conditions for living. “What can we little people do?” He had inquired and all this had happened.

“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.

And it was timed just right, he marveled.
Paddy 3
Paddy teaching his craft.

2 thoughts on “∼The Worm and The Elephant ∼ Parable by Paddy Rolleston

  1. Marvelous parable! Thanks.

    I’m so grateful that you have come to know Paddy. What a remarkable gift for both of you!

    Love, Roz

    Sent from my iPhone



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