One of the natural wonders of our Island is the beach, which serves as a nesting ground for sea turtles. Each year mature female sea turtles return to the beach, climb the shore to an appropriate spot, dig a deep hole and then lay their eggs. Afterwards, the mom will cover the nest with sand and then slowly drag her exhausted body back down to the safety of the ocean waters. If all goes well, roughly two months later a parade of newly hatched turtles will make their way off the beach to the ocean where, if they are fortunate, they may spend the next several decades of their lives doing whatever it is that sea turtles do in their daily lives.
We have a team of dedicated volunteers here on the Island who patrol the beach every morning during turtle season. They mark the nests when they locate them, and if the nest has been laid below the high-tide mark, they will even relocate the nest higher up on the beach in a safer location. There may even be some measures that the turtle team can take to protect the nest from certain predators. However, one thing that the team will absolutely never do is physically help the eggs to hatch. If the turtle is to have any chance of surviving, it must go through the struggle of breaking through its own shell.
Parents don’t enjoy watching their children struggle. We want to do whatever we can to make life easier for them. In fact, it seems as if there has been some unwritten rule of parenting that says that our children need to have an easier and better life than we did. But what if, in the process of trying to make their lives easier, we denied them the struggles that they need to actually thrive in this world? What if, in our efforts to make our own lives easier, we avoided the struggles that would have helped us?
Strength training for adults over the age of 50 can slow bone loss or even promote the growth of new bone. At a time when people are trying to slow down and take it easy, purposefully engaging in strenuous effort can improve the quality of your life. We avoid difficult conversations because it is easier to just ignore some things, but addressing the issue can lead to a deeper, more joyful relationship. Practicing delayed gratification can create a greater sense of appreciation for what we ultimately purchase than if we simply rush out today and buy it on credit. Developing in-person friendships is much more fulfilling than having scores of online friends, but it takes much more work.
We need struggles in our lives. Our children and our loved ones need struggles as well. Without struggles, we will never fully understand what we are able to accomplish, and we will settle for a life that is much less than what God intended for us. May we all take on a piece of the turtle team in our own lives, where we are willing to put our own energy and love into the lives of others, loving them enough to let them go through some struggles that will give them the strength to become who they were made to be.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron