While biking a few weeks ago, I ran over a caterpillar.
It was one of those “you can’t help it” things. By the time I saw the caterpillar, I was on top of it. I tried swerving, and then I went back to look for it, just in case, but I couldn’t find it. So either I didn’t squash him or else I did and “the body was never recovered.”
I biked home sad because I killed a butterfly. Not intentionally, but still. Butterflies are beautiful, and now there’s a little less beauty in the world.
I’ve been aware lately of the little injuries in the world, the small wounds that harm individuals at most, but are caused from carelessness, thoughtlessness, freak mistakes, and the like.
For example, early in July while I was at the playground, my son was playing with his friends when a grandmother came with her grandson, who had a sand bucket and three digging tools. She set them out on the ground, but the little boy didn’t want to play with them. My son and his friends played with them instead, and when I told them to leave the toys for the little one, the grandmother said no, it was fine.
A lot of older kids came to the playground too, but everyone was doing just fine. When it was time for us to go, I went back to find the sand tools for the little boy, and I could only find two. The grandmother and I looked around, but the third one had vanished. Had one of the kids buried it? Or one of the older kids taken it? We never found it, and the grandmother said, “It’s fine. He’ll never know.”
She’s probably right: the little kid never showed any interest in the digging toys, but it’s still a little injury in the way the world should have been.
I’m not sure I have a point here, and I know I’m not living up to the blog’s promise of satire. Sorry. But if the work of God is, as Father Walter Ciszek writes in He Leadeth Me, to do whatever work is in front of us, then part of that work is to heal life’s little injuries. Only sometimes we can’t, and I’m not sure if the best response is to pause and grieve them, or if it’s to be like the little boy’s grandmother and just acknowledge them, shrug, and move on.