Jeff brought the kids to campus to meet me for lunch. They came to my classroom door and waved at me through the window to let me know they had arrived.
After I dismissed my class, I met my family outside. That’s when I heard my kids jabbering about a turtle pond.
I said, “What turtle pond?”
Jeff looked at me incredulously. Like he thought I was joking or something.
So I said again, “Seriously, what turtle pond?”
My kids started jumping up and down and pointing, “The one right over there, Mom!”
“No way,” I said, “Show me.”
So my kids led me by the hand and took me to the turtle pond that is, indeed, just outside my classroom.
Sure enough. Several turtles lolled on sunny rocks while others took comfort in the shade by the water’s edge.
Jeff’s expression revealed more than a hint of skepticism. “You really didn’t know this was here?”
I could only shrug my shoulders and shake my head.
I had never noticed.
A full teaching load had kept me so focused on creating lessons and leading discussions and grading essays that I normally rushed to the parking lot once the day was done.
How silly of me.
WHEN I FEEL LIKE THE HARE
In one of Aesop’s most famous fables, a hare taunts a tortoise into a race.
The hare takes off with natural speed while the tortoise plods along. Meanwhile, the hare becomes overly confident of his lead, so he takes a nap. Then the tortoise, who never gives up, crosses the finish line first.
I’ve always identified with the tortoise in this fable. But here, just outside my classroom, I realized that I too had become the hare — sprinting to my next commitment.
To become the hare is really a snare. It makes us miss the details. And we become blind to beauty around us.
WHEN I FEEL LIKE THE TORTOISE
And then there are those places in life where I really do feel like the tortoise, only not in a good way. I admit that I’ve become impervious to the ever-quickening race in technological advances.
Then I wonder: Am I being stubborn when I choose — or just plain refuse — to learn yet another technological gizmo?
When it comes to technology and social media, I always feel so behind in this crazy techno-race. I can’t catch up. And I’m not sure I even want to.
So what’s a tortoise to do?
- I need to embrace the pace that’s right for me.
- I need to choose — slowly and wisely — which aspects of evolving technology are really worth the effort to learn.
- I need to be at peace with that which I’ve selected to do and that which I’ve elected not to do.
- And then, like the tortoise, I need to just keep showing up, at my own pace, and forget about the hares that speed past me.
I’m not in a race. Not with a hare. Not with anybody.
I’m only being obedient to that which I’m called to do.
Do you ever feel like the hare? Rushing to and fro? Missing the beauty around you?
Do you ever feel like the tortoise? Worried about how “behind” you feel?
How do you handle it?