Life is Full of Turtles

I was on my way to work one morning and there it was. A small box turtle inching it’s way across the road. There wasn’t a good place to pull over or to turn around and I was running a little late for work, so I decided not to stop.  A couple of days later, I went for a walk down that street and I saw it. The turtle had been mercilessly run over.

When I saw it, I couldn’t help but think, “If only I had stopped.” It wouldn’t have taken much. It wouldn’t have taken long. It would’t have cost me much. But it would have meant everything to the turtle.

Life is full of moments when  we see something and have to decide in that moment, “Do I stop and lend a hand, or do I keep going and assume everything will be ok. Life is full of turtles.

I had a good friend who was very good at spotting turtles. I remember once when he and I were walking across the parking lot to the mall. I turned around to say something to him and he had disappeared. After scanning the parking lot, I finally spotted him. He had seen someone trying to change a flat tire and gone over to help them. I had seen the same thing, but it didn’t register. My friend taught me a lot about spotting turtles.

You can find turtles everywhere…if you’re looking.

  • The new person on the job who’s not quite sure how things work.
  • The mom who’s trying to get carry a tray of food to the table while corralling more than one excited child.
  • The person who’s come into your establishment, but has that lost look on their face.
  • The person who says, “Have you got a minute?” when you really don’t have a minute.
  • The person across the room who drops what they were carrying and looks like they’re near the breaking point.
  • The person who tells you, “I just don’t know what to do.”
  • The person behind the counter who just dealt with another angry customer.

Life is full of turtles, but we get so wrapped up in what’s going on in our life that we quit seeing the turtles. Or we see the turtles and tell ourselves, “They’ll be ok.”

Yet so many of these turtles are struggling. Inch by inch they’re trying to make progress, but feeling like they’re not getting anywhere. They have large, looming things coming at them that they can’t dodge. Things feel so overwhelming that all they know to do is to draw up into their shells.

You and I can make a difference in a turtle’s life. All we have to do is…

  • See the turtle. Keep your eyes open. You’ll see them. They’re everywhere. They’re stressed, scared, tired, uncertain, and over whelmed. And often times, they’re trying to cover it up.
  • Pull over for the turtle. This is not always easy to do. We’re always on our way to the next place and the next thing. There’s no margin built into our day to stop for turtles. But if you’re going to help a turtle, you must take the time to pull over and help.
  • Lift the turtle up. A kind word. A helping hand. A few minutes of your time. Some encouragement. All of this can go a long way to lifting a turtle off the hard pavement of life and into some soft grass.

With very little effort, you can encourage and even change the trajectory of a turtle. You can give them a fighting chance. Life is full of turtles who need a little help. You just have to keep your eyes open. 

Let’s look at this on another level…

It may surprise you to know that Scripture calls us to help turtles.

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the good Samaritan (1) sees a man who was robbed and beaten, (2) pulls over to help the man, and (3) lifts him up on his donkey to get him off the road to a place where he will be safe. This was a turtle moment at it’s finest. Then Jesus tells us to do the same.  

Do you have a story about when you were a turtle and someone helped you? If so, share it in the comments. It will be an encouragement to others.

Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg