Monday, May 14, 2007

How to Save a Life

I saved a life today! Admittedly, it was reptilian, so there won't be any award ceremonies on the steps of city press releases or kudos from the president. But I had fun, anyway.

I was going out for a walk when I noticed a mound of something in the road ahead. As I moved closer, I noted a tail protruding and a head disappearing with every passing vehicle. The poor thing didn't have enough sense to stay out of the road, but it was deeply aware of the danger that a couple of tons of metal barreling down the road at 45 mph presented.

Anyway, I waited for the traffic to clear - (Hey, I'll risk my life for another human life, but not for a turtle. Sorry. Maybe if I was a little more evolved :-) - and I approached the turtle. It soon became apparent that the turtle considered me as much of a risk as it did the cars. And since being chomped down on by the jaws of a snapping turtle was not on my list of things to enjoy today, I abandoned the idea of picking it up and moving it. I had to figure out how to get it out of the street without touching it. So, I began stepping toward it, careful to keep enough distance that it couldn't get a vice grip on any of my toes. And I managed to get it to turn around and abandon the street-crossing plan. By now, crossing the street was the last thing on its list of priorities, and escape topped that list. It is surprising how fast a turtle can move when it wants to.

And, being the goofy person that I am (hey, what's wrong with that?), I began thinking about the parallels of the turtle's experience to our lives. I wonder how often we bite and snap at the people who agitate us, not seeing that they are only doing what is in our best interests? By pushing our buttons, they reveal to us what those buttons are - areas where we could stand to grow and mature.

It is so much easier to treat the symptom of the agitation than it is to dismantle the source of the irritation. That's why we often find ourselves getting into the same situations over and over again.

Why not become our own heroes and sheroes? Why not go to the trouble to figure out why that person or incident is bothering us so much and heal that area or change our perspective so that we can integrate that lesson and stop going around in the same vicious cycles?

It's easier said than done, but it's worth our thought, time and effort. Let's do it!

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