Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?

The other day I was driving home after work and a somewhat large box turtle was plodding across the shoulder of the highway, heading into my lane, on a path for the other side of the road. It was a rather busy time, and with the amount of traffic, I couldn’t see him making it intact. I stopped and shared my concerns, then asked him why he was trying to get to the other side of the road in the first place.

He said it was for the same reason the chicken crossed the road. Well, not only was I surprised he was a talking turtle, but really wasn’t prepared for him to be a comedian. But I bit and said, “Okay, why did the chicken cross the road?”

“Simple,” he answered. “It was in the way for him to get to where he wanted to go.”

Hummm. Makes sense. To the chicken and the turtle, the road was simply an obstacle: something in the way of getting to where they wanted to go. Getting across it was his just his way of dealing with that obstacle.

I’ve been on a sidewalk that turns sharply to go around a huge tree. The tree was in the path, so to deal with the obstacle, the designer took the concrete around the tree. It was easier than removing the tree.

When we moved into our house there was a large pine tree in the way of our driveway. The builder chose to go around it. It not only made it impossible to get a second car in the garage, but the cars on the driveway had to be parked in single file. My solution: remove the tree and widen the driveway. We did and the results were gratifying.

Some obstacles can be removed from our path, others have to be negotiated around.
Sometimes you tunnel through the mountain, sometimes you cross over the top, sometimes you go around. But if the journey is important enough to keep going, you have to find a way to deal with your obstacles.

Jesus said we were to “count the cost.” It meant make sure you have what it takes to accomplish what you begin. It means being prepared to deal with what may interfere.

It is not unusual to begin a journey only to experience a detour. When we do, we negotiate it. We follow the directions as given, or we make our own way. We don’t freak out, turn around and go home because our way was blocked. We deal with it. We move it, go over it, go around it. But we don’t stop the journey just because it’s there.

Is the journey worth it? Then deal with the obstacle. Is the journey my marriage and the obstacle is one of my habits? Is my marriage worth it? Then remove the habit. Is the journey my education and the obstacle my entertainment? Is the education worth it? Then adjust the entertainment. Is the journey my family and the obstacle my schedule? Is my family worth it? Then change the schedule.

Obstacles are expected parts to life. Every journey encounters them. Deal with them; don’t be overcome by them.

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