It is the Small Things

Weekly Reflection, Friday, September 2

By: Sue Thompson

A few days ago, I was, as usual, rushing around trying to do one too many things. I’d just come in from doing some yard work and was pretty messy.

My 5-year-old granddaughter, Ellzey, came up to me and said, “Look, Gummy, you have a caterpillar on your shirt!” I looked and indeed I did. It was a tiny one, less than 1/2” long. She looked at it, as did I, and we both thought it might be a Monarch. Ellzey rushed to a bookshelf, picked up her Ranger Rick book on Monarch butterflies, and started looking through it. She got to a page illustrating the caterpillar and pronounced, “It’s an exact match!”

We probably all have read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle about a thousand times. I still love it! Remember the picture of the very tiny little caterpillar on the first pages?

So I thought, what do we do with this tiny caterpillar? Well, I happened to be growing a native plant called Asclepias syriaca or Swamp Milkweed. It is the host plant for Monarchs. We grabbed a tissue and hastened out to the plant. When we got there, we carefully transferred the baby from my shirt to the leaf, trying not to touch it with our hands. The caterpillar cooperated and crawled onto the underside of the leaf. With hope and a bit of luck, it will eat its way through the leaves and be transformed into a Monarch butterfly who might be heading south to Mexico before too long!

For me, this was a tiny God moment. Ellzey is so keenly attuned to nature. I would have put my shirt straight in the wash and missed the tiny creature clinging to my sleeve. Instead, we ventured out and found it a home. It was a joyful time and such a small event in the big picture. Rachel Carson has a quote, “In nature nothing exists alone.” How incredibly true are those words? Nature surrounds us with its beauty, its mysteries, and its magic. It gives to all of us the chance to see God in every tiny creature as well as in glorious sunsets and starry nights. Even more, it gives us the miracle of seeing the world through a child’s eyes. God gave me a moment that day to stop, to hold the hand of a child, to connect to the earth, and to be filled with a sense of wonder.