I had a friend in high school that would stop every time he saw a turtle trying to cross the road. He would pullover, no matter how bad traffic was, and put the turtle on the other side of the road. I thought he was crazy!
Apparently age has softened my heart, because now I occasionally stop and do the same thing. Yesterday I walked to the end of my driveway to take out the garbage, and there in the middle of the street was a turtle. It was at this point I decided he needed my help. When I picked him up I was astonished at what happened next; he let out a stream of what I can only guess was turtle pee all over my leg while soaking my flip-flops. My first instinct was, “screw you turtle I hope your ass gets hit”, but after a brief mental pause I put the turtle over into the grass. He shimmed off without so much as a thank you.
Have you ever been peed on by a turtle?
Not one of my top ten moments of my life, but something about the experience begin to stir something deep in my soul. It wasn’t until this morning while meditating I would see clearly enough to understand the parable.
During my meditation time I began to weep for those who I have counseled over the years that were severely abused. It takes months and months to earn the trust of a person with a history of abuse. It takes even longer for love to actually permeate their soul. They are just like the turtle hiding in his shell in the middle of the road. Their scars for many of them are the truest things in their existence; their shell is like the turtle, a place to hide.
So the next time you try to help someone who you know has suffered unthinkable abuse and they dismiss your attempts to try to love them, remember the turtle. His life was spared and that is the point, not your feelings.
Turtle Pee washes off.