Take a Snail for a Walk

Take a Snail for a Walk
Unknown Author

God gave me a task,
to take a snail for a walk.
I couldn't walk too fast.
The snail was already trying its best to crawl,
yet why always so little by little?

I urged it, I scared it, I scolded it,
and with apologetic eyes
the snail looked at me, as if to say,
"I'm already trying my best!"

I dragged it, I pulled it, I even considered kicking it.
Injured, sweating, and gasping for air,
it crawled forward...
Strange, why did God make me take a snail for a walk?

"God! Why?"
The heavens were quiet.
"Oh! Maybe God has already snatched the snail away!"
Good! I'll let go!
In any case, if God doesn't care, then what do I care?
Letting the snail crawl forward,
I brooded in anger behind it.

Eh? I smelled fragrant flowers.
All along, there was a flower garden.
I felt the gentle breeze.
All along, the night breeze was so gentle.

Wait a minute!
I heard birds singing and insects buzzing.
I saw the whole sky filled with beautiful stars!

Eh?
Why haven't I had such an exquisite experience before?

Suddenly, I thought,
Can it be that I was wrong?
God made a snail take me for a walk.

Some time ago, I stumbled across this poem in a bookstore. I've translated it, as best as I can, but I still feel as if the Chinese has more substinence to it. And ever since that day, I quickly fell in love with the truthfulness that the poet conveys.

The sole reason why I love it is because it resonates with me on several different levels. In the first stanza, the narrator is given a task that seems burdensome and he quickly becomes impatient and resentful towards it. How many times has God called me to do something that I didn't want to do or felt was too burdensome? Too often it's grudgingly and accentuated with complaints. Then in the second stanza, the narrator gives up because he doesn't understand God's motive and isn't patient enough to wait for His answer. But by the third stanza, he finally realizes that God had told the snail to take the narrator for a walk in His wonderful creation. I, too, need to learn patience and to wait in faith that in due time, He will make all things clear to those who are open to His instruction.

Secondly, as an urbanite in an extremely large city, it's easy for me to go through my days at 80 mph (which, by the way, is how fast every Los Angelean drives on the freeways). Take this past week. I've been so busy with work, personal projects, and getting ready for my vaction that I didn't even realize it was already Friday until one of my co-workers asked me what I had planned for the weekend. And it's during these times that God will give me a snail to make me slow down.

I wonder what that snail will look like...

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