This I Believe

Dale - Lake Worth, Florida
Entered on February 19, 2007

The Snail

I stopped today to look a little more closely at the snail that was moving along the sidewalk. I forget to notice sometimes…I move so quickly…too quickly.

Today I remembered to take a moment…to take it in.

I was struck by the beauty of the shell. It was the deepest and richest color of brown I had ever seen. It had the tiniest spots that were a cream color, like the color of a creamy cup of coffee just the way I like it. The spots against the shell began to take my breath away as I realized the beauty I almost missed this morning.

There was something else though. As I was paying close attention to the shell, the snail kept moving, plugging along on its course and I noticed something that I have never noticed before. The movement of the snail is not fluid or smooth. He (I think of him as “Herbert” as I write this) stretches his body as far as he can and then relaxes his body to cause forward momentum. He “inches” his way along one stretch/relax at a time. It is a slow process but he eventually makes it across and to the grass where he will, I imagine, just continue to do the same thing.

As I watched this, I began to consider how our journey through life and personal spiritual growth and maturity is sometimes so very similar to this. We do not wake up one day and find ourselves suddenly “arrived” at some destination or final enlightenment. Rather, enlightenment, spiritual maturity, wholeness and connectedness to Source comes in deeper and deeper levels as we prod forward through cycles that cause us to be stretched to the very limits, only finding in the resulting state of relaxation that we have moved to a place we have not yet been before.

C.S. Lewis wrote on the process of moving through the stages of grief to a point of acceptance that it does not happen in one great moment but rather is “..like the warming of a cold room…” in that one generally does not even recognize it until it has been happening for some time. Personal growth to a deeper spiritual connection to Source and Life may be a process much the same.

May I remember to open my eyes, slow down and see the value of stretching in the moments of retraction that allow this journey to a place I have not yet been.