It is not uncommon to happen upon a turtle with its neck fully extended, revealing an appendage rivaled only by a giraffe. Such a sight shows us that their necks, when extended, can easily equal the length of their shells.
But turtles are also extremely shy animals. Typically, once encountered, they will quickly retreat into their shells in response to what they perceive as an uncertain situation. Little doubt this defense mechanism accounts for the longstanding survival of these creatures. Scientists tell us they are among the longest living animals in the natural world.
Of course, turtles have one other general quality as well. Let’s be honest - turtles are just not all that good-looking. In fact, their reptilian features make them ugly at best and repulsive at worst.
Given these principal qualities, excessive "shyness" and excessive "ugliness", it is easy to see why the humble turtle does not often get singled out by the press. In fact, apart from Aesop’s famous 2000 year old fable in which it races a rabbit and wins, few if any affirmations of the value of turtle-hood have been forthcoming. Nonetheless, two of these often overlooked creatures have been singled out in the headlines this week.
The first had to do with a turtle that tracked down, attacked, and then consumed a tern chic on Fregate Island in the Indian Ocean. To be clear, the seven plus minute video documenting the horrific affair was technically taken of a land tortoise rather than of a turtle. But hey, who’s splitting hairs in this shell game?
The hoopla surrounding this article seems to have to do with the fact that, heretofore, these animals were assumed to be herbivorous. But as the incontrovertible evidence presented in the video shows, we now know for certain that they are omnivorous, meaning that they eat both plants and animals as they have opportunity.
In and of itself, this is not necessarily all that surprising. Most animals with a limited food supply such as is found on a small isolated island, are opportunistic, and will gladly consume any form of sustenance that presents itself. We humans do this. Just let your pantry or fridge run low and see what all you are willing to consume!
The second news article, however, is a bit more intriguing. And also a bit more informative. It seems that a National Park Ranger recently discovered a two-headed turtle at the bottom of an egg nest on the Cape Hatteras, North Carolina National Seashore.
Nor is this the first such two-headed turtle found this year. It seems that another equally rare, two-headed turtle was found at Edisto Beach State Park in South Carolina by one of that park’s sea turtle patrollers. In both cases, it seems that the second head of the animal in question was attributed to a "genetic deformity".
The above referenced article continues:
"In response to a question about the animal’s wellbeing, the park wrote, 'This particular hatchling was released in the ocean along with the others found at the bottom of the nest during an excavation. And yes, you are correct! Park biologists identified it had good flipper function and was exhibiting overall good health.'"
All of this brings me to my point for this blog post…
The article began with seven simple words: "Two heads are still better than one." My response contains three words: "Really?! Says who?!"
Sure, in a communal setting, two heads may well be better than one. Personally, whenever I am faced with a major decision, I have learned the wisdom of seeking the input of others. But when it comes to an internal decision, two heads may not always be better than one.
Jesus, Himself, told us an individual cannot serve two masters! Either he or she will hate the one, and love the other; or else he or she will hold to the one, and despise the other!
Imagine being a hungry turtle and trying to decide which meal to pursue. Or how one mouth might react when the other gets a taste and it doesn’t. Or worse, imagine being pursued by a predator and trying to decide when and where to flee. For that matter, in the face of danger, how can two heads be withdrawn into a space designed to accommodate just one?!
Sadly, irrespective of what the so-called experts might have to say, a two-headed turtle is not likely to survive for very long out in the natural world. If it does, it is in for a pretty rough go of things.
No, turtles are not designed to have more than one head. And neither are we.
The head is more than just the housing for one’s eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. It is the home of the brain, which rules over the body. And two brains trying to drive one body is untenable. The competing agendas would quickly confuse and overwhelm the other appendages through a continual flow of mixed signals, thereby compromising the efficiency of the body as a whole.
Little doubt this is what the Apostle James had in mind when he wrote in his New Testament Letter (chapter 1, verse 8), that "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."
Thankfully, I know of no two-headed humans. But I know many double-minded people. And the latter always tend to face a rougher path in life than those who are single-minded, meaning that they are generally focused on a single goal, a single project, a single concern, a single focus, a single relationship, a single day, etc…
So before you go sticking your neck out too far, why not use your head?! Consider carefully what purpose you are ultimately intending to fulfill, which will then tell you what task you will first need to accomplish, and in turn what direction you will first need to head, as well as what step you will first need to take, etc...
Doing so may well single you out for a little easier life. It will likely single you out for a bit more productive one as well.
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