Fighting the urge to turtle

FIGHTING THE URGE TO TURTLE: I have to admit, I am feeling the urge–strong urge–to turtle. What do I mean by that? Bear with me as I talk about this. So for most of my adult life I’ve been a community activist. I see a pothole, I make some calls to see that it’s fixed. I see something going wrong at the schools, I speak up. I work to save unborn babies. You name it. I’m a firm believer in my motto from Gandhi, “YOU must be the change you wish to see in the world.”But sometimes it’s really hard. In fact, most of the time it’s really hard. I deal with yucky stuff — horrible things being taught to our children, unborn babies being killed at the rate of 8 per day just in Utah, children being rendered sterile–the list is long. And sometimes it seems hopeless.And I want to “pull a turtle.”When a turtle is threatened, they pull in their head and limbs into the protective shelter of their shell.And my “shell” is so peaceful. My home is beautiful and clean and organized and so peaceful. Spending time with my sweet husband and children and grandchildren is heavenly. Visiting with friends and neighbors is lovely. My shell is a great place to be–quiet, peaceful, supportive, and grounded in my faith. I’d love to spend all my time there. I’d love to just quietly play the piano, learn to quilt, work on my personal history, go out to lunch. I could stay in my shell forever.Honestly, I’ve been largely in my shell for the last few months following my campaign. Getting everything in order. Gathering strength again. Hunkering down during the pandemic. And it’s so nice.And when I see or hear things going on in the world, it’s like getting stabbed. I recoil. I think, “Oh, I don’t want to fight anymore. I just want to stay home.” It’s a whole lot easier in my shell. And the bad things going on in the world intrude on my peace daily.It’s tempting to think, “I’ve been doing this for 40 years, someone else can have a turn fighting it all.” But I just can’t do it. As hard as it is, I have to stick my neck out. The only way a turtle progresses and moves is to stick its head back out and its limbs and start moving, even if it’s slowly.I see so many things going on around me that need courageous turtles to work on them.So I’m sticking my head out again and again now. Time to move more courageously. Time to BE the change again. Time to step forward. And yes, I hate having to do it. And yes, it’s hard. And yes, sometimes the hope is thin. But I must.If I don’t, how can I face my kids and grandkids and say I made the comfortable choice? If I don’t, how can I face God and say, “You blessed me immeasurably but it was easier to just sit and enjoy my blessings”? If I don’t, who will?The pandemic has created a kind of de-energizing phase that will cripple us far more than any other kind of adversity. It is draining our energy to interact, to do good out in the world, to step out of our “shells” (i.e., comfort zones).But we MUST. We all must stretch out our necks and generate that energy to move forward and improve the world around us.So join me, fellow turtles. Today is a great day to stick our necks out.?