August 17, 2015
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105
Every year when my family is at the beach, we observe the marked off areas that help protect the nests of sea turtles. The huge reptiles clamber up on the shore beginning in May, lay 50 to 100 eggs in the sand, then lumber back into the sea. Within 60 days, the little turtles hatch sometime during the night and make a mad dash for the water. They have the daunting task of making it past crabs, sharks, and other hungry predators. It’s estimated that only one in 1000 survive to maturity.
While I have seen the tank-like tracks on the sand that the huge turtles leave, I’ve never seen the hatchlings themselves.So this year, when we arrived at the beach, we carefully checked out the marked-off nests. One was very close to where we were staying. We found ourselves keeping an eye on it every night, even to the point of racing down at midnight when we became aware a crowd had gathered. It was a false alarm.
But early one morning as my daughter and I were walking, we spotted the four-wheeler that the conservationist used to ride up and down the beach. It was stopped at a nest about a half mile from where we were staying. We broke out into a run and found the young woman bent over one little hatchling!
Apparently, he had been too weak to get out of the vacated nest, so she had helped lift him out of the sandy pit. When we arrived on the scene, he was struggling to get to the ocean. Because the full moon was setting to the west, he kept following its light that led him to go in the opposite direction from the water. We watched as she used the flashlight app on her phone, placing it directly in front of him, so that he followed her light as she led him to the surf.
The following video from my phone shows that he finally made it into the water…with our prayers for his safety.
As I watched the little turtle catch a wave and disappear into the white foam, I couldn’t help but reflect that in these days of danger and confusion, when “predators” are seeking to destroy our faith and false “lights” beckon us to go in the wrong direction, we need to follow The Light. I am recommitted to following Jesus, and to helping as many human “hatchlings” as I can to do the same.