Each year in the UK, we consume over 80 million Easter eggs. Whether it’s a classic chocolate egg, a sweet filled extravaganza, or a chocolate avocado, we are officially a nation of egg lovers. Whilst for many, the Easter egg represents a symbol of the celebrations, the egg also holds the secret to one of the nation’s most loved Easter pursuits…the Easter egg hunt.
Like many across the country, I love an Easter egg hunt, however this year’s posed a very different adventure involving several long walks across many miles of beaches all in the hope of finding the prized eggs. This year the eggs I found were not chocolate but instead belonged to leatherback turtles, as I embarked on a two week trip to Costa Rica with a group of very excited degree students.
Working alongside a national conservation charity, we would spend 5 nights protecting the beaches and its turtle inhabitants. As we arrived, turtle season was well under way with many existing volunteers having both seen turtles and successfully collecting their egg prizes, all of which were now safely in the charity’s hatchery. Within 6 hours of arriving, it was now my turn… I was ready… dressed for the occasion, I set out with a couple students and our local guide fully prepared to not only see a turtle but single handed save the entire leatherback population.
But sadly, after my first patrol, I quickly realised that maybe my expectations were just a little unrealistic. As it turns out beach patrols are hard. Sadly, it was not the gentle stroll I hoped, walking on sand is tough, and it was dark…really dark, meaning that I could barely see who was walking in front of me, let alone experience the iconic “David Attenborough” moment I’d imagined…and don’t even get me started on the mosquitos.
So, 4am arrived and despite our best attempts, no eggs were collected, and no turtles were seen. Another night came and went and still no turtle…and as time slipped by, I quickly realised I was becoming the most unfortunate volunteer, being the only person who was yet to experience a turtle encounter, despite repeated attempts and beach patrols.
Sometimes life can feel like a beach patrol…after months, even years of expectation our time has arrived, we’re prepared. We’ve spent time reading our bibles, going to church, listening to the newest worship albums and spent hours and hours praying…and yet our journey is hard. We’re walking in the dark, its tough and we’re tired. And even after many attempts, we are no closer to our dreams, whilst everyone around us has reached the prize.
But even in our toughest moments we can be confident that the Lord is with us. Psalm 23:3 encourages us with the truth that the Lord “leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”. James 1:2 too encourages to “dig deep” irrespective of the trails we face, to “count it all joy when you meet trials” as through the testing of faith, steadfastness is produced allowing us to be made “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”. We are called to both seek his guidance and strength in our perseverance to follow after our dreams and His call, confident in the path He has set before us.
The good news is after 3 nights of waiting, my moment finally arrived…not only did I see a turtle, I actually saw 4 during my final patrols…concluding with the honour of both digging nests and transferring our prized eggs to the hatchery. I ended the week having experienced everything I had hoped for and more…and notching up a few more miles and mosquitos bites on the journey.