Why Turtles?

One of my daughter’s unique traits is the way she hears things. The this-is-the-way-it-should-be people call it “auditory processing disorder,” where the message her brain concocts from the information she receives isn’t the message the sender intended. (We all have a little of that, don’t we?) I will say, negotiating Cami’s auditory processing differences has taught me how to listen and really hear. Sometimes, her processing glitches make for frustrating times. Other times, it makes for funny stories. One time, it gave me treasure.

The December when Cami was five, she was telling her daddy and me about evergreens. She said, “Evergreens are trees that never lose their leaves. They remind us of God’s love for us and our happy turtle lives.”

Michael and I looked at each other, and then it dawned on me. “Cami, do you mean eternal life?”

“No, Mommy.” She was very sure. “If you believe in Jesus and ask Him to live in your heart, then you get a happy turtle life.”

Michael said, “Cami, the Bible says that God so loved the world,” (we had been trying to learn John 3:16) “that He gave us Jesus so that if we believe in Him, we can HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.”

By this time in the conversation, I had tears streaming down my face from trying not to laugh out loud and hurt Cami’s feelings, while still trying to participate in this very important conversation. I’m so glad Michael could keep his composure and be there for our daughter.

“Oh,” Cami said. She repeated, “Have eternal life.” She sounded almost disappointed that the Christian life didn’t necessarily involve turtles after all.

Since that day, turtles remind me of the gift we have in this life–the gift of time and paying attention. We are called to live “happy turtle lives,” lives filled with glory-moments, where what the world would say is “wrong” with us actually reveals God’s fingerprints all over us.

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