Nose Worms, Cursing, and Mail Order Tigers
My Ninth grade Biology class, led by Mr. Scott, spent an entire month on parasitic worms. We discussed them, dissected them, detested them. The climax of the unit was the tape worm, also known as Thysanosoma actinoides. After giving a graphic description of its ability to slither from stomach to throat to nasal cavity, Mr. Scott concluded the unit with one final bit of advice. “And that,” he announced, “is why you won’t ever see me kiss a dog.” Fifteen(ish) years later; I wake every morning face to face with a snoring Weimaraner consuming 3/4 of the bed, 6 of the 8 pillows, and just close enough for a tape worm to crawl out of his nose and into mine. I’m pretty sure I have worms.
My daughter’s fourth grade class just acquired a new student. She is from Korea. In preparation for her arrival, the teacher set up a desk and adhered a name tag. He then lectured the class that no one, at any time, was to attempt to say her name aloud. Any student caught saying her name would give up recess for the rest of the week. My daughter explained to me that the pronunciation of the new girl’s name was questionable. Anyone who attempted the pronunciation inadvertently cut loose a curse word. After a full week of holding their tongues, the new girl finally arrived. The teacher promptly asked that she teach the class how to properly say her name. The meek child turned to the floor and whispered, “Grace.” The name tag on the desk was quickly removed.
While watching Cupcake Wars, my son saw a commercial for tiger adoption. He teared up and begged to adopt one. Impressed by his compassion, I logged on to the internet, found the site for Save the Tiger, and hit the adopt button. That was two weeks ago. I all but forgot about it really, until yesterday when my son turned to me. “I’m worried about my tiger,” he began, “will he just come in the mail, or does UPS bring him.”
It’s fun sometimes to step back and consider the things that consume my worries; a life sucking parasite that may or may not exist, an inadvertent slip of the tongue, a tiger in a box with no air holes. It is striking how quickly my thoughts are consumed by possibilities and misinterpretations. How little room is then left for the present and reality . . . or anything that is not all about me.
God says not to worry about tomorrow, that sufficient are today’s troubles. I have also made this all about me. Thinking I need only be concerned about my today, while others around me struggle in theirs. I forget so quickly that God asks me to bear other’s burdens, to weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, pray for the sick, provide for the poor. Today’s troubles are not just mine, but also those whom walk with me in this life.
I have a training coming up for work. It is something I need to go to, something I cannot really afford. I registered a month ago knowing the payment due date lingered. On that due date, I got a phone call that my way had been paid by an anonymous donor. I had not told a single person that I was worried about the money, only God knew.
I want to be the kind of person who uses the day not only to deal with my worries, but also with the burdens of those I know and love. I want the sound of my (often irrational) voice to be drowned by the voice of God prompting me to pay the way for someone else.
I cannot thank my anonymous donor personally, so I will do it here. Thank you for not only paying my way, but reminding me to quiet my concerns and listen to the concerns of others.