Earthworms have it so great.

umbrella-1588167_1280.jpgIt’s a rainy spring day here, which reminds me of my true earthworm story that I shared last year. You can read it below.

I’m amazed to see that I left out a critical part of the story, about why I left my job, a decision prompted by earthworms. (Yeah, just read the story.)

It’s true that I was overwhelmed with life and sick all the time. But the real reason I left my job is that, several years after my son Matt’s diagnosis with a brain tumor at age 11, it finally became clear to me that his, and our family’s, recovery was going to be a long haul. We were all floundering, and the only way we would survive is if I dedicated myself full time to our healing.

And the only way Matt was going to graduate from high school is if I became his full time cheerleader, mentor, and tutor.

I’m not sure why I left that piece out of the original story, other than perhaps I didn’t want to get so deep at the time. As a fairly new blogger, I tried to separate my “cute” stories from my brain tumor stories. I didn’t know how to weave them together. I didn’t know if a reader who liked one type of story would like the other.

It’s a sign of how my writing has grown, that I can better integrate all the parts of my life, all the nuances of what makes me me. And I think my readers like that. It’s honest. It’s real.

As for Matt, he not only graduated from high school on time, but he completed a bachelor’s degree (in four years!), and continues to amaze us with his success in life.

I have it so great. Earthworms got nothin’ on me.

 

It was around 20 years ago. I was married with two rambunctious sons, a demanding full time job and an old house. I loved it all, but the all of it was starting not to love me back.

I was frequently losing my temper with my kids, quibbling with my husband, yearning for low-maintenance apartment life. Non-stop sinus infections, colds, headaches, digestive problems, and exhaustion plagued me. I felt like my body was on the fast track to destruction.

One spring day, I pulled up in the parking lot at the elementary school where I worked as a counselor.  It was raining and the parking lot was a regular Eau de Earthworm convention. I tip-toed through the conventioneers, juggling my umbrella, purse, lunch bag and briefcase, with no third hand to hold my nose.

Out of the blue, or should I say “gray,” an unedited, spontaneous thought popped into my head:

“Earthworms have it so great.”

(I’ll pause for a moment because you’re probably reading that statement again to be sure you didn’t misread it. Spoiler alert: you didn’t.)

Now, what does one do when a thought like that bombards your consciousness?

Don’t look at me–I thought I was crazy. (Spoiler alert: I am, a little. In a good way, mostly.)

To clarify: I witnessed putrid earthworms congregate on the chilly blacktop as they brazenly risked bald tires, low-heeled pumps, and hungry robins. I knew if they survived, they’d wiggle back home to eat dirt and poop it out.

And I thought that was a good life?  Well, it was time for some serious reevaluation, dontcha think?

That’s exactly what I did, after I got inside and examined my pupils to be sure nobody slipped some LSD into my morning coffee.

I took a good hard look at my life, at what would stay and what could give. The kids and the husband? Stay with a capital “S.” The old house halfway through rehab?  Stay. We’d need to pay someone to take it off our blistered hands. That left my school counseling job. Which I loved. But the needy students and fractured families were slowing sucking me so dry that not even a monsoon could rehydrate me.

So, with a deep breath and a big gulp, at the end of the school year, I gave my notice and quit my job. As a family, we made some sacrifices, but we regained our equilibrium and I slowly regained my health. I believe it saved my life. And I owe to it earthworms.

Wisdom in this universe is everywhere, sometimes right under our feet.

“I am not a slimy beast,” the Earthworm said. “I am a useful and much loved creature. Ask any gardener you like.”               

                                                                               – James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.

 

7 thoughts on “Earthworms have it so great.”

  1. I can really relate to this story. I left my full time job in 2013 for many of the same reasons. Then a month later my SIL was hit by a car; ended up coming back home for many weeks at a time to take care of her in the hospital. God leads us the way we should go.

  2. I think a similar thought almost everyday, except instead of earthworms it’s cats. Particularly the ones in my house that do nothing but sleep and eat!

  3. Not that earthworms inspired me to do so, but after losing both parents in a span of 8 months, I’d had enough of working for a terrible boss and quit a job I loved to go and find the life I love. Good deal, Karen.

Leave a Reply