Right now, I feel a lot like a turtle. I lived my life in my little terrarium, unaware of the wide world outside of it. I found comfort in the familiarity but was painfully aware that my four glass walls kept me right where my traffickers wanted me. When I left my terrarium, I was freed from the hands of a man who hurt me, broke me, and sought to kill me.
But freedom does not end at escape. I am free. But I feel a lot like a turtle. I was taken out of my terrarium, freed, but then I wandered onto a freeway. Yes, I’m free, but I’m not safe yet. A turtle does not belong on a freeway.
But I am free like a turtle on a freeway. I can see the other side. I am on quite the adventure. I’m crossing away from the predators on my side, distancing myself so they cannot put me back in that terrarium to do with as they please. But a turtle does not belong on a freeway.
Everything is moving so quickly.
People are on their way to their destinations. Some will have regard for my unique position. Some will see me and see a threat to their routine. Some will not even notice I’m there. I am small and they are big. The world will move around me regardless of my existence. I’m vastly uncertain of what waits for me on the other side. It’s a dangerous world and I feel out of place. A turtle does not belong on the freeway.
I have found my way to the median. The southbound lane was treacherous. Luckily, I found some people with “I brake for turtles” bumper stickers who saw me safely to this resting point. There is food here. There is shelter. For this leg of my journey, there is safety. I’m trying my best to rest. I’m willing myself to dream of what awaits me at my next resting place. But I am overwhelmed by the roaring of the northbound lane. My dreams are drowned out by fear. A turtle does not belong on the freeway.
What if my rescuers don’t see me across this next lane? What if I wear out my welcome here in the median? What if they realize I’m just a turtle and decide I’m not worthy of their efforts? What if they see a puppy in the distance, warmer, softer, more lovable? What if they realize how helpless this turtle in the median is, or how stupid I was to try to cross this freeway, or how hopeless this out of place turtle is? A turtle does not belong on the freeway.
I’m free, yes. I’m grateful to be free. I’m grateful to not be constantly looking over my shoulder for a truck threatening to crush me. I’m grateful for those who brake for turtles like me. I’m grateful for the median where I can find safety and rest. But a turtle does not belong on a freeway. A turtle like me belongs in a safe terrarium. So what am I doing here?