Rescuing Turtles

Today I saw a sweet lady rescuing a misguided turtle on the side of the road. This poor turtle was at the corner of an extremely busy intersection, preparing to hop the curb and take his chances. We all know the likely outcome. Thankfully someone kind spotted him and decided to offer some guidance. Smiling while talking to him, she carefully picked him up and helped him head in a much safer direction.

I’ve always found turtles interesting. Carrying their house around with them at first glance seems proficient. No matter where they travel or what danger lurks, they have instant protection. Just ducking their head, feet and tail inside that hard shell provide safety. Considering the slow speed at which they move, it seems this feature would be a plus.

But what about the weight? Maybe it’s the weight of that shell that causes the slow tempo. They certainly seem to carry around a heavier load compared to other creatures their size. Please note, I’m not speaking scientifically. I have not actually researched the structure of turtles, simply making observations based on watching them.

This may seem an odd comparison but witnessing this woman’s act of kindness towards the turtle caused me to transfer the scene to people. We all come in contact with people who, for various reasons, are moving slowly through life. Maybe they’re temporarily carrying extra weight because of job stresses, life circumstances, varying differences. They may appear self-sufficient like they have it all together, but the reality under that shell is quite the opposite.

No matter the reason, that extra weight has the power to affect decision making. I have personally experienced that feeling of being at a busy intersection, trying to choose the right path, in desperate need of assistance. Others passing by so quickly it’s difficult to get their attention. Wondering if anyone will take the time to stop and say hello. And once they do stop, hoping they are willing to offer some help.

I have also experienced the opposite.  Slowing down long enough to realize a friend needs help.  Noticing they seem sad, not acting in their usual manner.  Sometimes a rescue is simple-listening over coffee, sending a sweet note.  Other times it may be more complicated, requiring time, energy, and possibly sacrifice.

Both experiences are an inevitable part of life.  So next time you find yourself at one of life’s busy crossroads, slow down and look around. Maybe there is a weighted down, misguided turtle who needs your assistance. Stop and listen. You might just end up being their hero! And remember, the time may also come when you are the turtle in need of rescue. If so, don’t be discouraged. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and don’t give up. Your hero could be waiting at the next intersection.

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