As I was leaving my house this afternoon, jamming to some Beirut with my windows open and fall leaves drifting in on the breeze, I slammed on the breaks to miss hitting a little turtle crossing the driveway. I put the car in park and got out to move the little bugger who was continuing to cross at about negative 10 miles an hour, completely unaware of his imminent death. He let out a little hiss at me before pulling his wrinkly limbs into his shell as if to berate me for interrupting his stroll. (I think it was a snapper)
This little turtle, which I have affectionately dubbed Mr. Hissy Fit, got me to thinking about time. My life consists of rushing from one thing to the next, and then from that thing to another. Sometimes I have trouble finishing things I’ve started because I am quickly reminded of something else I need to be doing – or would rather be doing. Even as I sit here typing this, I realize I am doing it: I ran to the thrift store to look for old sweaters, but I got too hungry, and then decided I could multi-task my lunch at Panera by working on some homework, then I got tired of homework and decided to write this instead, and now I don’t feel like finishing because I realized I forgot to take my car in to get the air conditioning and other various squeaking problems fixed, and I have to stop by the bank to get some checks before they close, which is right across the street, but I should really go to Earthfare next-door and get some groceries since I don’t have any food. Do you see what I mean?! This is my typical train of thought. I am constantly a deer stuck in the headlights, frozen, trying to decide which way to run. I would much rather be the leisurely turtle out for a stroll, unaware of the five million stimulants around me, entirely focused on what I am doing at the moment. You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, but the oblivious turtle is probably gonna get hit by the car” … but I’m pretty sure turtles get hit just as often as deer.
I could care less about getting hit anyways. I’m sorry that sounds so morbid, it’s really quite the opposite. Over the past two years, God has started to show me how I can live my life free of fear. And what is fear but a lack of trust in God’s plan? In our society fear has become a tactic, a force that can be harnessed and used to sway people’s thoughts and actions. Living by fear is the opposite of living by faith. The saddest part is, most people don’t realize how much their lives are governed by fear. I don’t just mean fear of death, which, for Christians, is often the easiest kind of fear to dismiss – but what about fear of rejection, fear of difference, fear of change, fear of loneliness, fear of pain. I’m not saying that fear doesn’t influence me anymore, because it definitely does. I have just become more aware of it, and I’m hoping I can grow stronger and actively counter it with trust.
“When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4)
Anyways, back to Mr. Hissy Fit. He’s unafraid. He’s taking it slow. He’s fully present. In reality, he’s probably none of these things, he’s just a turtle… he was probs just digesting some leaves – but that doesn’t matter! Lesson learned. I’m going to spend the rest of my fall break trying to live like a turtle. I apologize in advance to anyone driving behind me, to anyone I am supposed to meet up with – I will probably be late, and for whatever I don’t check off my to do list. I’m taking a Sabbath.