Friday, May 17, 2013

To Shell with It

A while back, a dear friend and I found ourselves deep in discussion on how to best transport a turtle from Southeast Texas to Iowa.  I won’t go into the reasons why the turtle has to get to Iowa – it’s not as intriguing as you might think. 

Our conversation caused me to reflect on some of the more interesting things I’ve ever had to carry by car:  a second-hand headboard, secured in an open trunk by jumper cables; a groggy cat, who did not handle his tranquilizers well for the 12-hour ride from Amarillo to Houston;  a dozen poinsettia plants, only two of which were mine…I could go on, for the Old Camry and I have covered a lot of interesting miles together.

Then I began thinking about the things we carry physically on a regular basis, became bored (except when I remembered once seeing a guy carry an entire bucket of chicken on his head), and started to muse on the figurative…

We carry hopes and dreams.  Sometimes they manifest.  Sometimes they don’t.  That lack of manifestation could easily turn into despair and hopelessness, and shouldering it all takes a mighty large toll.  We carry responsibility for ourselves and for others.  We might find, too, that we’re carrying more than our fair share.  People let us down and situations prove fruitless, so we have no choice but to carry that weight and carry on.

All that carrying could cause us to develop a shell similar to the one of the aforementioned turtle.  We could hide when we feel threatened or afraid.  We could move much slower and trod more tentatively.  Unlike the turtle, though, we have choices:  we can ask for help, refuse to take on more than we can handle, and move through life at a peppier pace.

My friend and I have yet to figure out how to get that darn turtle to Iowa.  Contrary to popular opinion, I really don’t know that much about turtles.  “Make sure all of your pit stops are at a Shell station,” was the best that I could do.

And the best that I can do is really the best that I can do.