It wasn’t something I expected to see, something so unusual.
Isley ran into the house, yelling for me to follow her outside. Wondering what was so important, I followed.
Behind the tree in our backyard, a good-sized female turtle was, we hoped, laying eggs. It was the only reason we could come up with for her behavior. Her head seemed to extend as far as it could go, and she was perfectly still. Isley and I were within two feet of her. I thought she might be dead–I’d never experienced such stillness in a turtle that near people. We walked away, figuring she needed privacy no matter what was happening.
Within the hour, Isley tore back into the house, yelling for me to follow her, and we raced to the tree.
Where the turtle had been was a shallow bowl-shaped hole. Two tiny eggs were partially exposed. We gently pushed dirt over them, covering them from prying preying eyes.
Isley’s idea was to put a security cam on the tree to scare off any would-be thieves who’d want the eggs. I had to say no to that, but we committed to making sure those eggs would be safe. We thought of covering it with chicken wire or some little safe house.
Two days later, Isley came inside, a single tear coming down her cheek. “They’re gone. All the eggs are gone.”
She was right. The nest had been dug up.
It bothered me more than I thought it would.
Isley and I talked about what we “should” have done. What “might” have saved the unborn turtles.
We hadn’t done anything. I felt regret, for not responding to Isley’s forethought to do something to protect those unborn turtles who couldn’t do anything for themselves, letting her down, and not realizing that acknowledging a situation at the moment may be the only chance I’m ever given.
Life doesn’t work that way. We don’t get “do-overs”.
Regret is not a friend. It comes around and grabs me from behind when I’m “too busy” to respond to the need of a family member or friend, and then realize I might have been able to help. Too late.
It pokes at my mind with all the would haves, should haves, could haves that I dwell on after the fact. With no ability to change anything in the past.
Jesus came to deal with my regrets, my oversights, my blatant errors of choice. He carried the burden of all that–mine and all else who will accept such an amazing payment–to a cross where the ultimate price was paid.
I’m not going to minimize the significance of baby turtles; they’re a picture of the bigger things in my life that I allow to be a heavy blanket of guilt and regret to weigh on me with no possible hope.
I still consistently mess up; that won’t change. Regret will still try to shadow me if I let it.
Giving it over to Jesus saves me a lot of anguish.
It’s a lot safer than being a turtle egg in my backyard.
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