It seems that all summer long my life revolves around one word.
For the most part, I actually really enjoy having this job. There is just something so therapeutic about watching the watering can slowly fill up.
I haul it all around the yard and convince myself that this must count as exercise. Unless I have a little person offering to help mommy with this task, I’m usually by myself. And, standing over the plants, offering them much needed hydration, I relish the quiet. I do some of my best thinking and praying while I’m watering.
But, on one particular morning, I was in a hurry to just get it done.
It was getting to that point in the late summer when the watering starts to get tedious.
I hurried out the back door, scooped up the watering can and headed for the faucet.
As I crossed the lawn, I noticed a snail working its way across the grass.
Now normally, around our house, snails and slugs are only seen as enemies which must be destroyed lest they destroy our garden.
But, I was feeling benevolent that morning so I left it alone.
And besides, it was heading away from the garden, not towards it!
As I went about my watering routine, I kept checking back to see how the snail was progressing on its trek across our yard.
Every time I glanced over I was surprised by how much farther along it was.
I mean, it was a snail after all. They’re not known for their speed!
If I stood and watched it, it seemed to be moving so slowly.
But, if I went away and came back, the snail seemed to have covered quite an impressive distance, considering it was a snail.
I wondered if it was being intentional about its goal of reaching the bark just beyond the grass. Could it “see” the final destination or did it just know that it needed to keep moving forward.
And, in that moment, I saw myself in that snail. Now, that is something I never thought I would relate to! But, there it was, inching its way along.
That snail reminded me of where I am currently on my faith journey.
You see, there are things in life that propel us forward very quickly.
Loss, trauma, tragedy, grief.
When these things occur, we are forced to jump ahead.
We rapidly come to new understandings about God and His plan for our lives.
I’ve had these kinds of occurrences in my own life.
Things which have caused my faith to grow by leaps and bounds.
They may have been painful, but they certainly contributed to a deeper connection with my Savior.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters!), whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking any wisdom.”
But, most of the time, I feel like that snail.
Inching my way along.
In this season of my life, I’ve traded leaps and bounds for something slower…more steady.
Between the peaks and valleys of life there are often plateaus.
Times when we aren’t experiencing extreme highs or low.
When we are just dealing with the day in and day out stuff of life.
It doesn’t mean that there isn’t movement, though.
Just like that snail, I continue towards my destination…to be more like Christ.
It seems like I’m moving so slowly and yet if I look back I can see just how far I’ve come.
On this nondescript summer day I found myself rooting for a snail.
As it got closer and closer to the edge of the lawn, I willed it to keep going, keep trying, keep pressing on. I so admired it’s dogged determination.
When it finally made it to the edge of the grass and onto the bark I wanted to let out a cheer!
You did it little snail!
But then, it just kept on going.
Maybe the bark wasn’t the final destination after all.
Maybe the snail knew that the real goal wasn’t so visible….so easily attained.
And so, like that snail, I continue on towards my goal.
There will be more peaks and valleys along the way.
But there will be even more plateaus.
And in those times when it seems like I am only just inching along, I will remember the snail.
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”