Inchworm, by Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF

Old movies hold a special charm for me.  I enjoy the simplicity of the story line, the development of characters on screen, and the music.  New movies don’t have the same charm for me.  INVICTUS comes closest to what I call a really good movie.

I must admit that the musicals sometimes bog down into much music and not enough dialogue, but still there is something…maybe I am just getting old.

Some time ago I saw and old Danny Kaye movie on TV.  The story was a fictionalized account of Hans Christian Anderson’s life.  It was delightful to see how “Hans” could help a child who was different by telling the story in song about the Ugly Duckling.  Another time he eased the loneliness of a little girl by singing the tale Thumbelina. But the one short song that seemed to be inserted as an afterthought was Inchworm.  The melody has been going through my head, and I have a tendency to poke around in my thoughts to see why it is making an impact.  In the song, the inchworm is addressed:

Inchworm, inchworm,
Measuring the marigolds,
Seems to me you’d stop and see
How beautiful they are!

We had a short winter this year and spring came very soon, even before we had the chance to tire of the snow, of the cold, of the barrenness of the trees.  Some of us missed watching the snowflakes dancing and the glistening white of the snowfall.  But all of that is put aside.  We have forgotten it, because we have the loveliness of spring.

I know there are some of us, who hope the spring will quickly give way to summer.  We will have put aside the buds on trees, the daffodils, and forsythia.  We would like to make things move faster to get rid of the very things we welcomed not so long ago. The difference is not in the snow or the buds.  The difference is in us. We welcome the snow of Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we do not like the snow of Easter. We delighted in the buds of spring, but we long for the roses and shade trees of summer.

Something very similar happens in our relationships; we welcome the differences we see in our new employee or caregiver.  But as time goes by those very things that seemed so great in her or him look different now.  The Employer or Patient inchworm measures everything, but doesn’t stop to see how beautiful the differences are.  This is also true of the marital inchworm.  A Spouse measures but does not look at beautiful differences.

We delight in our children, but if one of them decides to follow a path that is not in OUR game plan, or brings home a significant other who is definitely not significant to us, we measure with our own tape, with our own mindset and do not see how beautiful the relationship can be.

We also take things for granted.  The paper is to be at our door by 6:30 AM.  When it is not there, we are unset, disgruntled, maybe even downright nasty about it.  We do not even care WHY it is late.  We do not want to know of a crisis the distributor may have had.  We just want it when we want it.

From the time we awaken in the morning until the time we crawl in bed at night we are surrounded by things and happenings that we take for granted.  Try making a list of things in this category.  To begin with, you take it for granted that you will wake up!  Then you take it for granted that water will flow when you turn the tap that the water will be safe to drink, that the water will flow down the drain, that the hot water will be hot and the cold water, cold.  We expect that there will be food for breakfast, coffee or tea or orange juice.  We take it for granted that the car will start.  We expect to see each other when the work day is over. And so on and on and on.

If we think now and then about how many people must do things to make our day go smoothly, we might have a different attitude about what happens.

Here is an example.  We turn on the tap and fill a glass with water.  In the Gospels Jesus says, “Anyone who gives a cup of cold water because of Christ, will receive a reward.”  Now if you work for the water company and make the intention of providing water for people in Jesus name, you have a good chance of getting a whopper of a reward.  After all it only takes a cup, and you are providing hundreds of gallons.  But you have to think about it.  Those of us who turn the tap would do well to remember that water made us Christians in Baptism, and your work for the water company keeps us clean, provides means for cooking and is a delight for warm summer days as we boat, fish and swim.

If on the other hand, we measure the gift of water only by the cost of the bill at the end of the month, we are like the inchworm measuring but not seeing what we measure.

When you must measure, be sure to look for the beautiful things. Do not be like the inchworm finding purpose in the signs rather than the message.

You are beautiful to God and to me!

Peace and Joy,

S.  Sharonlu, OSF

Clip art courtesy of

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