Consider the turtle

  • Published
  • By Maj. William Constantine
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing chaplain
I read a short story about the turtle by Jerry Hayner. He discussed the poor reputation of the turtle. How many of us know of a story with a turtle as the hero?

Yes, I know the story of the race between the turtle and the hare. In this story the attention is mainly on the failure of the hare rather than the "speed" of the turtle.

Usually the turtle is a term of criticism. We hear the term "slow as a turtle" to describe someone we think is taking too much time doing something we want done.

In Hayner's story he calls upon us to look at the turtle in a way to encourage us to take risks. The turtle only makes progress when it sticks its neck out of its shell. It is only by sticking its neck out and risking being vulnerable that a turtle can get anywhere.

The turtle gives us a great example here. How many people have a tendency to avoid sticking their necks out and risk making a mistake or being the only one to stand up for something we believe in. People have shells, too, and enjoy the security they provide. How many people won't volunteer in our community, because they have "never done that before?"

Shells are very comfortable. They protect us from harm. We can't be hurt very bad when we remain inside them. But then we will not move ahead and experience what life has to offer us. Where would the military be without people who were willing to take risks? We were not meant to live in a shell.

We are living in times when people are taking risks. American men and women are taking risks today in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other parts of the world to bring a better life to the people who live there. Our leaders are taking risks. Great men and women have been risk-takers. What risks have you taken lately?