71st and Riverside is a bad place to play in traffic, and no place for a wandering turtle. Because if you ask the question, “How does the turtle cross the busy street?” The answer must certainly almost always be, “intervention and salvation.”
October 7, 2013, was really a non event sort of day. I remember almost nothing, and if not for Facebook and a post, I would not know this date at all. I probably was going to the Fedex to drop off packages I had sold on Ebay. I had probably stopped at Uhaul to buy some boxes. Why would I assume this? Well I had a Snappy encounter in the early afternoon. And those events would account for why I was where I was when I met Snappy.
My friend Nancy has saved many an Oklahoma turtle. I had seen her Facebook posts. But she’s a country girl, living on rural roads. I am an urban guy. I observe squirrels, feral cats, and stray dogs. However, many cities have pockets of “wild” salted within their borders. Such a place in Tulsa is Riverside Drive. So named because in parallels the Arkansas River, wandering through the city for over 10 miles, and remains habitat for many country creatures in the city.
Snappy the turtle was such a creature. And Snappy was feeling his/her freedom to explore on that October day. Is that a Furr’s cafeteria over there on the far corner? I hear it’s a good place for soup.
I can’t explain the anguish I felt when I first saw this turtle on the side of Riverside Drive. Edging along the pavement, I watched as this reptile plodded and searched for direction. My stomach sunk as I watched. I was in my car, first in line at a stoplight. Snappy was on the road’s apron. Helpless to intervene, as I saw wind wake from several speeding autos actually alter Snappy’s course. “GO WEST” is what I screamed in my soul. I saw this turtle crane his neck. Fearless or oblivious, either, neither, both? I was certain I was going to witness a disaster. I am truly on the edge of panic. Do I abandon my car at the light and move as quickly as I can to get to intercede. No, I must wait. I can’t get across four lanes of rapid traffic anyway. IN my same inner voice soul, I cry out. “Green… turn Green … NOW.” This is the LONGEST signal light cycle in the entire world. That is the only thing I was certain of at the moment.
And then it happens. The light turns green. I speed through the intersection to the road’s apron edge. I get Snappy. I walk and carry my friend 200 yards to the slope of the river park’s edge. Across the green belt and the bike path to the woods along the river.
And I felt sooooo good.
And then I asked, “What caused this wave of emotion in me?” I lived in that moment to perform only one task, and Snappy is after all just a turtle. And this is the wisdom I have received. It works for me. You may answer, of course, as you choose..
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27.
Well here is my thought. Salvation is a Godly attribute. We were created to save things. God wants to offer salvation, and if we are in His image, are we not then born to try and help save people and things. Many will not align or believe this, I understand that. Yet everyone participates in Salvation. Atheists participate in this Godly Image attribute. They often try to save people from believing in God. Enjoy your Holiday Tree. Get your Nativity off of my Public Library lawn. And people get very emotional in their salvation pursuits.
Salvation is such a profound experience. Almost everyone participates in salvation in some way. Progressives want to save the world. Conservatives want to save the world. People of all shapes and sizes want to save whales, babies, forests, dogs, old buildings, oceans, the white race, the black culture, guns, freedom, Afghanistan, and on and on and on…. People save old cars from fields and barns. Fill in the blank… if you have read this far… I believe you have saved something, because it consumed you to do so. The salvation experience surrounds us. And when I find something I want to save, well don’t get in my way.
I am not sure I have ever met anyone who does not want to save something. It is buried in the genetic code. In His image, so I think. Many of us look for a savior for our cause(s). And I hear the cries of the masses…. “Who will rescue us….how shall I be saved”. I watch folks with their Facebook rants, screaming out daily in an attempt to save the world, or the country, or the whatever.
Luke 15: 4-7 “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.
Such was that moment for me and Snappy.
Oh yeah, one final note. Snappy did not realize he needed to be saved.