Last year we were in West Virginia over a weekend. I can't remember if it was a holiday, wedding, or some other visit. Tim is from WV so we often take weekend trips back to his home town.
But the reason we were there isn't the point of this story. The other day I saw a turtle and it made me remember a moment from that weekend that I wanted to share.
Tim and I were in the truck driving around his small town. I think we were headed to his grandparents house as we stop by and visit pretty much every day we are there.
As we passed a long driveway, there was something on the side of the road that caught our attention.
I could make out a turtle shell but could tell there was something wrong. The shell was misshaped and there was blood on it.
One of us pointed it out and Tim stopped the truck, jumped out, and went over to get a closer look.
Tim and I are both animal lovers. I, however, am queasy about blood/injuries and in general get very sad about injured animals. So, I didn't want a closer look.
Tim got back in the truck and was furious. He informed me that he could see the turtle in his shell was still just barely alive. His shell was shattered and he was suffering.
Tim was so angry that someone had clearly ran over the turtle in their car and just left it to die slowly. I rarely see Tim so upset.
If I had been alone, I wouldn't have stopped. I wouldn't have wanted to see the turtle struggle up close. And even if I had, I would have felt bad and left.
But Tim wasn't OK with that. He informed me that he was going to run over the turtle with the truck, since it would be heavy enough to kill it. That way, the turtle would no longer suffer and could die quickly. I wasn't sure how I felt about that plan, but I could tell there was no arguing with him.
It makes me sad to remember how it felt driving over the shell and hearing it crush. It was awful. I had closed my eyes and plugged my ears but I could feel the bump. It was tough.
Tim doesn't normally express many emotions but I could tell how much it bothered him after he got out again to confirm the turtle was dead, and as we drove away.
I realize this was just a random box turtle on the side of the road. But no animal deserves to die for no reason. And they especially don't deserve to die slowly and suffer just because of a careless driver.
That moment made me realize what an amazing man I'm dating. Tim has such a compassionate heart. Especially for those who can't stick up for themselves, like animals, children, or those less fortunate than the rest. He is always the one to give change to a homeless person, help an older woman with groceries, or pull over to help a neighbor with a broken down car.
Not everyone, including myself, takes the time to do these things.
At a time when I would have driven away to avoid having to feel sorry for the turtle, Tim did what was necessary to help the situation. Even though the necessary task was not an easy one.
That day I learned a lesson in compassion. I learned that it's important to help others even if it means stepping outside of your comfort zone.
So, next time we see someone, or something, in trouble, let's stop to help. Even if it's not convenient or easy, I'm going to try to remember the turtle, and stop to help.
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