Spiritual Warfare On The Move, Very Slowly
I don’t know why, but I looked out onto the stoop of the back door. And there he was.
I wondered what magic had brought him there.
He wasn’t there on his own, so to speak. Next to him was an empty peanut shell, broken in half.
When I first spotted him, the turtle was vigorously wrestling with one piece of the shell. Perhaps he was trying to eat it. If so, he didn’t get much into him.
Perhaps he thought it was an enemy and was going to get the best of it.
Well, if that was the case, the turtle definitely won.
But for the life of me I could not figure out how either had arrived at such a spot as the back door stoop.
Now I have seen a wide range of animals in the back yard. From deer to mice. Opossums. A raccoon one night decided he wanted to eat some cat food that I had left by one of the windows, that I had left open so the cats could go in and out.
We’ve even had coyotes here.
But no turtles.
We have no bodies of water around here.
Despite the enthusiastic presence of mosquitoes.
We have no sea gulls whirling overhead.
No breezes that carry the scent of the ocean. Or even a lake.
There are Army helicopters from time-to-time. Out doing training missions, or perhaps checking to see if anyone is out sunning themselves.
It wasn’t just the presence of the turtle that confounded me.
There was the even greater mystery of the broken peanut shell. A whole shell. Open. Empty. Split in two. As though someone had just eaten it and dropped the casing.
But other than my son who mows the lawn, I am the only one in the backyard. Ever.
And even if someone crossed at the end of the yard, on his way to somewhere else, he wouldn’t have been able to drop his peanut shell on the stoop outside the back door.
Much less leave his pet behind.
After tussling with the peanut shell, the turtle began to look about. He left the stoop and tried to go inside the air-conditioning unit sitting there.
He got a bit stuck, and then realized that the grass around this big metal box was kind of lush, so he had a go wandering in it.
I gave up my watch by then, and wondered why I had taken that moment to look out the glass door, and why when I looked out I saw something.
My mind had been quite full up to that point.
Filled with what I had “seen” as I watched a prayer team, filled with compassion and competency, try to free their client of all that tormented her.
I had seen a lot as I had watched.
And it had happened that I saw something I had never seen before.
After it was all over and I had reached home and began the debriefing process, knitting quietly to recover from the slight shock I had carried home with me, I thought about how I really don’t have to be concerned with what I had seen.
She wasn’t my client, after all.
I had been just an aide in the process.
And for a while that gave me a bit of relief.
Until the turtle arrived.
And I looked up what a turtle symbolizes.
Longevity (as in immortality), endurance, and persistence.
The last two caught my attention.
This little, not-much-bigger-than-six-inches, dark-shelled with orange spots creature that had perhaps dropped from Heaven was perhaps a little message sent to me from God. Sent down with a little parachute. A messenger turtle. With a bit of lunch.
It could only be applied to one situation: the one of which I felt I had come to the end.
It was over.
Now, I think I must think again.
About what is ending.
And what is just beginning.