I believe life is a journey that we all travel through in order to learn and grow in the ways we need, so that we’re able to fulfill our unique purpose for being. Along the way, we often have various unexpected adventures that can have quite surprising twists and turns.
I had one such adventure last week when I went out for an early morning walk in our neighborhood. It was a beautiful, cool, foggy morning. Just the perfect weather for an invigorating walk. It’s amazing how much nature you can experience, even in a neighborhood, if you’re really looking and listening! There are wonderful birds, butterflies, bees, and even sometimes cute, little bunnies. There are also colorful varieties of trees, flowers, decorative grasses, and occasional streams to see.
On the way back home that morning, I came across a little turtle sitting almost in the middle of the sidewalk. I was sure he wasn’t really supposed to be there, but I wasn’t sure what I should do about it. If I left him there, he might get out in the street, but if I brought him home, I might be taking someone’s pet. I decided to leave him there until I could get home and talk with my husband, since I was only 6 to 8 houses away from home. My husband said that I was describing a water turtle, and that he would die if he was out of water too long. He and our Golden Retriever went down to rescue this lost traveler. By the time he reached the turtle, he was out in the middle of the road — not a good place for any turtle to be!
What was so incredible to me about this whole story is that just moments before I found the turtle, I was walking along and thinking of a wonderful, local therapist, named Eva. She was celebrating her 81st birthday that day, and I was thinking about what an amazing human being she is. All of the sudden I looked down and there was the turtle! What made this feel so incredible is that Eva has collected all kinds of turtles (necklaces, pins, ceramics, etc.) for many years, because of their symbolism. (Just as humans use their defenses to stay safe from situations that feel somehow threatening or dangerous, turtles use their shells as a defense when they feel unsafe.) I couldn’t help but think about how fitting that this little turtle showed up in the middle of my path on this particular day — Eva’s birthday! Rescuing this little wanderer felt like a small tribute to someone who has “rescued” so many lost and wounded travelers by her loving guidance and support throughout the years.
Our little, lost turtle is now happily swimming around in our koi pond, when he isn’t sunning himself on the rocks surrounding the pond, or eating the food that we feed him. My husband has been watching for any notices about a lost turtle. The only one was from someone on Craig’s List, who left a notice that she had found a turtle three days earlier. He called her, and she said she had found him out in the street and took him home, where she put him in a child’s wading pool. She said she didn’t think he was happy, because he soon disappeared. I’m not sure what our koi think of this new member of their community, but they seem to be peacefully cohabiting.
We’ll never know what caused our little turtle to leave wherever he had been and wander out into a pretty big world, or what adventures he had on his way to the sidewalk where I found him, but I’m glad that we met along his journey. He was awfully weak when we first put him in the pond. My husband gently laid him on a lily pad, but he couldn’t keep his head above water. We moved him over to the rocks right below the small waterfall, where he could be in shallow water but didn’t have to struggle to keep his nose up. He stayed there for a few hours, and then climbed off the rocks and slid into the deeper water, ready to begin a new chapter in his life.
Just like this turtle, we sometimes find ourselves lost. As humans, we can venture out into areas of life that aren’t very welcoming to us. We might stray from our chosen paths, and find ourselves sliding into sorrows and strife that don’t support our well-being — either physically or emotionally. The sooner we can find a helping hand, whether it’s literal or symbolic, we can right our course and get back to a life that is more in line with our core values and belief systems. I strongly believe that we all should take personal responsibility for reaching out to others who are struggling, just as we would wish them to reach out to us. Sometimes it only takes a soft smile or a kind word. As part of life, we are all connected. Let’s celebrate our connections by making the right choices.
Until next time,