Friday, September 09, 2011

The Turtle in the Road: Presence Filled Fridays

I recognized Him. I often miss Him because I am not looking for Him or because I don't choose to see Him or because I am in a hurry.  But today I knew it was Him.

It was an ordinary school morning. Ryan and I got in the car to make our 12 minute trek to school.  We began to go over his spelling words just to make sure he was ready for his test.  You know, multitasking. The thing that mothers do well. As I continued to drive,  I saw cars stopped in the road and on the side of the road. I thought there had been an accident and so I slowed.  When I came closer, I didn't see any evidence of an accident.  No damaged cars, no people out of their vehicles. Only cars stopped. I thought, "What is going on here?" And then I saw it. The biggest, oldest turtle I've ever seen in my life. It was most likely a snapping turtle and based on its size, it could have been 75 years old. The gigantic turtle was not moving, but it was not dead. It was just sitting in the middle of the road. And the cars were all stopped. Everyone was just mesmerized by this turtle. It seemed like life just stopped. And we waited. And waited. And finally, the old turtle stood up on his four feet with his big heavy shell and began to move, one foot at a time. We laughed because we thought, "At this rate, it will take him the rest of the day to get to the edge of the road!" But he finally made it to the grass. All of us watching him sighed relief and then we got back to our normal, hurried routines. Now we might be late to school!

And God whispered, "Slow down." See what happens when you slow down? You don't miss out on the good gifts I have for you. Your children's laughter. A friend's conversation. A moment with your husband. A meal with family. A morning with a 75 year old turtle.

A friend shared this book excerpt with me recently:

Not long after moving to Chicago, I called a wise friend to ask for some spiritual direction. I described the pace at which things tend to move in my current setting. I told him about the rhythms of our family life and about the present condition of my heart, as best I could discern it. What did I need to do, I asked him, to be spiritually healthy?
Long pause.
You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life,” he said at last. Another long pause.
“Okay, I’ve written that one down,” I told him, a little impatiently. “That’s a good one. Now what else is there?” I had many things to do, and this was a long-distance conversation, so I was anxious to cram as many units of spiritual wisdom into the least amount of time possible.
Another long pause.
“There is nothing else,” he said. 
(Excerpt from The Life You've Always Wanted:  Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People by John Ortberg)

"Ruthlessly eliminate hurry." 
Yes, I recognized Him. God placed the big, ole' turtle in my road to make me slow down. And to listen. And to enjoy.
What about you? Need to eliminate some hurry in your life? Is slowing down hard for you? Are you missing out on the turtles in your road?
Would love to hear your comments.  If you are reading by email, you may comment by clicking here. The rest of you can post below!
Unwrapping the gift of slowing down,


Amy Dickson Ward said...

That's a keeper. I love turtles and have been known to help them get across the road...not on a busy road, just my neighborhood road.

Kelli Williams Wommack said...

We often save turtles from our dogs. But this one probably weighed more than, I didn't even get out of the car!

Jennifer Corcione said...

Slooooowwwww and steady. Thank you for reminding me of this. And, to that old guy crossing the road.....thank you.

Kelli - your blog is just what I've needed. I'm figuring out all this technical stuff, but I visit this bookmarked page every chance I get and definitely when I'm spinning. :) You remind me of that old turtle. Far more elegant, but steadfast all the same. Love you.

Kelli Williams Wommack said...

Jennifer, I am humbled by your comments. Thank you. God has His hand on you and He is not letting go!

Love you, too!