I suppose I could have yelled at him to watch where he was going, but it wouldn’t have helped. For as it turns out, they can see but they can’t hear. Similarly, expecting him to stand up for himself wouldn’t work either, for in addition to having no ears, they also have no backbone.
In truth, there is probably no one slower at going through life, thus, than a snail such as the one I almost stepped on yesterday. For their average speed is only around 0.03 miles per hour and that’s with juicing the surface with a slime they secrete as they move along. What’s more, it’s said that the lazier ones try to travel in the “slipstream” of other snails, moving along whatever slimy trails they left behind in order to save energy.
And in the view of some, I’m sure it seems like that’s what we’ve been doing as well in both the church and nation as we cautiously re-open all that’s been shut down by the pandemic. It might be encouraging to note, however, that a recent study discovered that snails were yet fast enough to explore the length of an average English garden in a single night.
In a similar way, whether fast or slow, we’ve been studying all of the options for how to return to something more normal in a way that respects everyone’s fears and faiths. And we’ve been working to find that middle way that Methodists have been so famous for over the years. For in the end, we’ve can’t really love God unless we love our neighbors, and we can’t adequately love them unless we love God first.
I’d like to go faster, of course, for I’ve really missed seeing all of your smiling (including a few sleeping) faces in worship. But we’ll find our way together in the coming weeks, however short or long they last, and I can’t help but think we may also find a blessing along the way. After all, without all the pressures of a fast-paced society, snails can actually live in captivity up to 25 years!
It’s a bit like the story of a snail riding on the back of a turtle when the turtle crashed into another turtle at an intersection. The snail was thrown off and when asked about the accident afterwards, he replied simply, “I don’t know– it all happened so fast.”
Here’s hoping the return to more normal times is just the same for us.