Snapping turtles vs. fears

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Camp Otto…where the alleged snapping turtles lived.
Camp Otto…where the alleged snapping turtles lived.

As I splashed in the lake with my kids and swam back and forth between the beach and a floating pontoon platform this summer, I was reminded of the times when I was younger and did the same with my own parents.  The only difference being that I was not warning my kids of snapping turtles “just beyond the ropes”.  My dad’s warnings of snapping turtles brought visions of  the turtle’s tail cutting off my arms and legs in one easy swipe.  Being young and gullible, I believed his every word.  But as I look back, I see how snapping turtles couldn’t have possibly been outside the ropes, just inches from where 10 – 20 kids were splashing, yelling and swimming at any given time.

In an effort to keep us safe, dad warned my brother and I of snapping turtles.  By doing so, a boundary of sorts was established in order to keep my brother and I safe.

Funny how boundaries can feel safe and provide comfort. But, if based on fears, they can be limiting. In reality, I could have swum beyond those ropes and out of that safety zone. That wouldn’t have felt secure and my fears of the snapping turtles kept me within that safe area. However, dwell on this. The fears, or “snapping turtles”, may not always be outside the ropes. They are actually within all of us…keeping us from moving beyond our comfort zone. Eventually, we must all decide for ourselves how our fears are affecting us and when and how we will venture outside our self-imposed safety ropes.

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