People who love to read are sometimes called bookworms. I wonder why.
Maybe it’s because they seem to burrow their way through mountains of books. Maybe it’s how reading is an intensely reclusive act, as if the reader is “underground” to the world around them. Maybe–but probably much less often–it’s a derogatory term aimed at readers for partaking in such a humble activity.
I partly agree with all the above. Those reasons seem valid.
But as a lover of earthworms, I think there’s another layer of reasoning to this idea of “bookworms.” Bear with me.
Worms crawl through the dirt, decomposing what nature casts off, and bringing much-needed nutrition and porosity to the soil they work in. They are the unseen, underappreciated, and often ignored angels of the underground. They keep the earth in working condition, helping plants grow, indirectly feeding all living animals and humans. They tire unceasingly, without complaint, simply doing what their Creator has given them to do–to keep this broken world beautiful and productive.
I think readers can, and should be like these worms.
We read books written by those who have gone before us. We give life to these ideas through the thoughts we think, the words we say, the things we do. And when those ideas are the good, the true, and the beautiful, we echo what the humble worms have been doing for millennia–we make the world a better, more beautiful place.
The reverse is also true.
When worms ingest the wrong substances, they deposit toxins through the soil, and do harm where they could have done good. In most cases, they die quickly. When we allow ourselves to believe in and live out evil lies, we become the carriers of destruction and, in the end, are destroyed ourselves.
There should be more bookworms in the world, especially among those who write. The responsibility of enriching the world lies heavily on our shoulders.
May we learn to be the best bookworms we can be.