Early in the morning while Lucy endlessly searched the front lawn for the perfect spot to pee I saw an animal at the other end of our cul de sac lumbering in the road, not much more than a shadow in my perception. I blocked it from Lucy’s view and hurried her inside before she finished all her business. I snapped up my camera and ran barefoot in my jammies to investigate what turned out to be a lost turtle. Isn’t he cute? My approach drew him into his shell. The simple metaphor of that held me captive with him for perhaps longer than might seem normal to any neighbor watching me from the window. I looked into his eyes and felt a little envious that he could so naturally draw into a hard shell and protect himself like that when he was scared. I wanted one too. So, as we looked at eachother I asked myself a hard question. What would be so scary that I’d go into my shell? It didn’t take me long to know I’m mostly afraid of rejection and having my feelings hurt. Then it occurred to me that I haven’t had that urge to hide for protection for a long time because God is my shell. I withdraw to him when the world hurts and I feel safe there.
After taking a few pictures of my hiding friend I decided I would carry him to the lake. I know the other things turtles do when they are scared, and that is to pee on me, an not just a little, but quite a drenching, and they’ll try to swim away with sharp claws if they can so I grasped him firmly in the center of his shell holding the top and bottom of him where his legs couldn’t reach me. I didn’t want to drop him. I held him at arms length and scuttled over to my back yard and gently dropped him into the water. He poked his head out and saw he was home then swam away. I knew as he disappeared into the lake I would not again want to have a shell like his because I have a better place to go for safety. Anything can happen to my physical body, but nothing can touch my soul. I have confidence that I am that well protected by God.