Opening a Can of Worms

May 5, 2015 1 By Mirm

What is with that expression?!  I heard someone say it the other day and it sort of surprised me that I have been thinking about it since! And maybe that is just what I will do as I unpack that idiom.

I know that it is a phrase that implies that by trying to fix one problem a person inadvertently complicates it, creating even more trouble than bargained for. I also know that it is a modern variation to the idea from Greek mythology of opening Pandora’s box. When Pandora opened the box all kinds of trouble came out into the world. The only thing that did not fly out was hope.

The great thing about bait is that it is alive so it wiggles on the hook and tempts fish with its movement. But if you don’t pay attention, then the worms might wiggle out of the can and escape. Herein lies the rub. Without bait, fishing is very difficult. Bait that escapes is also a problem; but is it really worth complaining about?! By the way, what won’t wiggle out of the box is dirt; AND earthworm dirt is “hope for the flowers”!

So, my conclusion is that if you are going to fish, then you better plan to “fish or cut bait”! Opening a can of worms can mean problems, but the hope of a tuna fish sandwich far outweighs a few wiggling worms as does the fertilizer for the flowers afterward.

Perhaps it is all perspective, but I am of the mind that says rather than complain about increased troubles that might arise from a situation, let’s celebrate that we have the opportunity to fish and that we have bait. It reminds me of another idiom I disagree with about lemons. I say when life gives you lemons, it is time to celebrate! Lemons are a good thing and not something to “make the best of” at all. The word complainer means one who is discontented with his lot in life. Wow! When each day is a gift, it seems arrogant to feel entitled to more! As for me I would rather learn to “dance in the rain”

I know I have opened a can of worms about whining and complaining. I am reminded that complaining is very ugly. The Israelites would tell us that grumbling only makes the journey longer. Paul says to do all things without grumbling or disputing in Philippians. James reminds us that if we grumble and complain, it shows how worldly we still are and that a complaining spirit leads to fighting and quarreling. Peter indicates that it impedes hospitality. For the Christian, complaining is destructive and debilitating personally and only serves to make our witness to the world more difficult. Who, for instance, would be attracted to a religion whose adherents are dissatisfied with life and who continually grumble and complain?

Join me as I work hard to count my “worms” as blessings and discipline my heart to be grateful.

PS – 4 1/2 years. 1642 days. I have missed Jim for a lot of days….