Up before dawn and driven to get our run in this morning, we left the house around 6 am. The beautiful route took us down Lewisburg Pike, following the Harpeth River. Tennessee farms with cattle, horses and wild turkey’s had almost become commonplace but not so much as the rising sun caused us to stop for moments enough to be marveled by its beauty.
Nearing the famous Carton Plantation, once used as a hospital during the Battle of Franklin during the Civil War, we saw something on the road. Running this route countless times before, I had seen this site often, some armadillo, raccoon or other creature that couldn’t outrun an oncoming car or truck. To our surprise, the beast in the middle of the street was prehistoric and not what we had expected. The large snapping turtle, the size of a trash can lid had somehow made its way to the southbound lane and decided it was time for a nap. The closer we got, the more we realized Mr. Turtle was alive and well, unscathed from any vehicle encounters. I looked at my Bride and running partner and decided to get involved in this creatures opportunity to see another day.
It wasn’t due to their excellent sense of rhythm that snapping turtles had snapping in their name, so I decided to find something to help move this fellow. Cindy waved off traffic so that dumbfounded drivers wouldn’t hit our new friend. I found an old trash bag and decided I would pick him up and move him.
Now straddling the dark-green fellow, I grabbed one side of his shell and then the other, surprised just how heavy he was. He wiggled and moonwalked as I lifted him, catching my hand with his gargantuan foot, I drop turtle-boy right in his back. There he was, all upside down and moving his legs. I swear I heard him say, “uh, a little help here buddy.” Flipping him over, I grabbed our friend again and carried him to safety, placing him on a stretch of grass, not too far from the Harpeth.
We took a picture or two and wished our four-legged friend well, and we were back to our run into Franklin.
I thought about that turtle over the next few miles and how many people must have straddled him that morning with their cars as he moved at the speed of a glacier. Then I realized I’d done this same thing endless times, often too busy to stop and help some hapless turtle or person in need of a few minutes.
As people around so many other people, the truthful reality is, just about every day we encounter people caught in situations that probably seemed like a good idea to begin with but could leave them to a less than desirable fate. I think we have to realize we’re all going to be like that turtle someday and hopeful some person with more insight than us will decide to step in, maybe do a little traffic diverting and help us continue on our journey to another day.
Today, who are you going to encounter that might need a few minutes of assistance? Will you default to the lame excuse that someone else will probably help them or will you decide to be the difference in their day? How about determining now, how your going to respond when the opportunity presents itself, go ahead make a decision. Will it be rescue or road kill, you decide how you’ll react.
I’m choosing today to get involved and see where that journey takes me, so far it’s led to some fascinating and adventurous places.
Choose to walk in the opportunities and purposes you have been given.