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About Snapping Turtles

August 18, 2014

One day my dad brought home a snapping turtle.

“Kids!” he yelled from the back of his pick-up truck. “See what I found!”

We knew that whenever dad found something it was either alive, or edible, or an antique of some kind, and always highly interesting. We ran over.

“What is it, dad? Is it alive? Is it a treasure? Can we eat it?”

Dad leaned into the bed of his pick-up and pulled up the snapping turtle by the tail.

“Here it is!” he said, grinning at us. We screamed in admiration.

There was a lot to admire. If you’ve never seen a snapping turtle up close, you’ve missed out on a terrifying and satisfying piece of the grand tapestry of life. A huge black shell tough with spikes and bony ridges houses this big and ornery member of the turtle species. When Dad held the monster by the tail and lifted it in the air, the black, slimy head poked out of its fortress shell and waved around and snapped at us with its hard, beak-like mouth. The legs squirmed as if it were tying to escape toward the ground. I’m sure it would have run all of us over on its way back to the bog from whence it came. We loved it. Every scary snapping ounce.

After Dad was done thrilling us with the turtle he drove it back to the pond and let it go.

The thing about being a turtle is, no matter what happens to you, no matter what human father kidnaps you from your watery neighborhood to amuse his easily amused children, you always carry your home with you. If you are a snapping turtle, your home is a fortress, a huge shell into which you can hide when things get rough. Other turtles have different style homes. Painted turtles have a stylish artistic shell. Box turtles basically have a trailer home, box-style. And turtles don’t even have to hand in mortgage payments or electric bills. Their homes come with them when their born, complete and ready for the furniture.

As Christians, we also carry our homes with us. Jesus tells us that God comes to dwell in us whenever we open ourselves to him. If our true dwelling place is in heaven, our true home wherever we find the Lord, then we do not have to look farther than our own hearts if we want to live where we truly belong. Like turtles, we carry all we need with us. And if we need Him, God waits in our hearts for us to turn to him.

So be you snapping, painted, box or whatever — keep your true home with you always.

 

 

 

(Image:  Jarek Tuszynski  via Wikimedia Commons)

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