When I was a kid we had a turtle (Myrtle the turtle) that could take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. The poor thing walked straight off the second floor deck more than once–boom, landed on the grass below, poked her head and legs out and just kept going.
Myrtle was a tough lady; her shell protected her from just about anything life might throw her way. Her shell was the place she could always retreat to when her surroundings were just a tad bit too scary.
Today Myrtle has me thinking about our shells, how tough have they gotten after absorbing the blows that come with infertility?
For most of my adult years I have taken a secret pride in the strength of my shell. I have fallen from skyscrapers of disappointment, only to get back up, shell harder than ever, and limp along to start climbing the next Empire State Building in front of me.
Lately however I’ve begun to wonder if that shell, that shiny shell of armor, has gotten a bit too thick.
In life, and in struggles with fertility, we absorb blows like punches in the gut–we feel them, they hurt like heck, and then we take a deep breath, harden our core, and punch back. We become fighters; we become the turtles with the hardest shells.
Yet what happens when that shell becomes so hard that we can no longer even feel the love, caring, and happiness knocking on our shell?
Along with her dare devil flying escapades Myrtle loved to bask in the sunshine (sunbathing was the reason she was on the deck in the first place). She would stretch out every inch of her body from beneath that shell and just luxuriate in the warmth.
Perhaps we need to learn to be a little more like Myrtle. We must keep our hard shells to protect us from the fall, yet we must also take a peek out from beneath them to soak in the warmth–to feel the love and happiness just on the other side of our protective barrier.
You see Myrtle; she knew that the sunshine was what gave her the strength and courage to take her flying leap to freedom. Because of that she was always sure to soak in as much as possible before making her grand exit.
Sometimes we too need to stretch our arms, legs, and necks out from the safety of our shells to feel the warmth. It is that warmth that will remind us of our humanness in the midst of an inhuman leap of faith.