I just can't help myself; when I see a turtle in the road (as long as it is safe for me) I almost always stop my car and help the turtle to the other side. "Why bother?" some would ask; and that's ok. You see I really don't care if someone else doesn't understand. For me, it is simply a way of being a friend.
Rescuing has gotten a bad name in some circles. Some of the negatives are clear: It is not good to rescue children from the consequences of their procrastination or delinquency. It is not good to rescue an alcoholic from the consequences of his/her drinking. It is not good to rescue the one who has been dishonest when they are about to be exposed for their lies. To be a "rescuer" in these situations is to be a partner to dysfunction and irresponsibility. But there is another side to being a rescuer.
Sometimes people (and animals), simply need help. Sometimes people (and animals) get themselves into situations because of their limited knowledge, experience, and/or abilities. Sometimes people (and animals) need someone to simply lend them a hand. Often times people learn from the assistance and coaching of others. Animals sometimes do as well (but not always). But when rescuing is grounded in kindness and not just sympathy, then it can truly be a good thing.
So turtles, I'm your friend. I will always, if I can do so safely, help you across the road; and I would say the same thing for children, the elderly, and the disabled, When you become aware of someone (or thing) who is truly in need, I encourage you to be a rescuer. It is simply a way to make the world a kinder place.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.