Early on in our sheltering in place, our oldest daughter, Laura, was out for a run. She came upon a baby turtle on the sidewalk and picked it up. She sent a picture to me via text, and asked if she could bring the turtle home. Our home has been (and continues to be) open to all kinds of animals, but I have always drawn the line at reptiles and rodents. But this turtle was tiny! He was about the size of quarter. And seemingly all alone in the world. We were all reeling from the huge shift in our lives—working and schooling from home—and I thought a little friend for the kids would be fine. So, I reluctantly agreed to her bringing the turtle home. On her way home, she found another baby turtle and brought it along. I thought these turtles be temporary house guests.
Laura immediately began researching what the turtles needed—water, dry land, heat lamps, UV lamps, special food. She used her own money to order supplies online and set up a tank. The turtles were named Judas and Zoboomafoo. Because who doesn’t name their pets after the disciple who betrayed Jesus and a lemur from a PBS program from the early 2000s? The little guys began to grow on me, but Brian and I still thought they would only be with us for a month or so.
A month became two and three and before we knew it, it was time for Laura to head to college. Plans needed to be made for these turtles. I was adamant that they were not my responsibility. I have enough going on, thank you very much. But Laura insisted that we couldn’t take them to a pond now. They didn’t know how to live in the wild. We had taken them in, and they were now our responsibility. Once again, I reluctantly agreed. We purchased a 55 gallon tank. If you don’t know how big that is, it’s big—four feet long and almost two feet tall. Then, Laura convinced me to go with her to get some needed supplies for them. When we got to the pet store, guess who decided the turtles needed fancy decorations for their new home? Laura? Nope. It was me. They had grown on me, and I wanted them to have the best home possible.
The turtles live in Laura’s room which has become my office while she is at school. They are my buddies. I turn their lights on and off each day. I feed them. I also manage their Instagram page. Yes, the turtles are on Instagram. I love seeing fun pictures of other people’s pets, so why not add to that fun? It’s all a little silly, but it’s also how life tends to work, isn’t it? How often are we dragged into something only to realize it’s exactly what we needed? My experience with Judas and Zoboomafoo is a good reminder for me about how God often asks us to try something new and unexpected. It happened to Moses, Esther, Joseph, Mary, Paul, and so many more. The saying “The Lord works in mysterious ways” is well-known for a reason.
My challenge to myself and to anyone else who may want to accept it is to look for those opportunities and nudges from God. Listen to the Spirit guiding us. It may not be where we thought we were headed, but it will be exactly where we are meant to be.