One Kind Man in a Parking Lot

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After we left the St. Louis Art Museum last week, we drove to the nearby Turtle Playground in Forest Park. I was excited about returning to Turtle Playground as I remembered being there with our son and his sons back in 2019. First, I’ll share some photos from that visit.

The biggest turtles make great slides.

Eccentric sculptor Bob Cassilly completed the sculptures for Turtle Playground in 1996. Mrs. Sonya Glassberg donated the playground “for all children.”

The park has seven turtle sculptures: a snapping turtle, a soft-shelled turtle, a red-eared slider, a Mississippi map, three box turtles, and a stinkpot. The three largest turtles are named for Mrs. Glassberg’s children, Sally, Richard, and Tom. In 2019 I snapped the labels for two of them.

The four smaller turtles are named for her grandchildren Antonio, David, Adam, and Emily. The turtles are from seven to 40 feet long. Cassilly also created this giant snake. He made some turtle eggs, too. You can see them in the distance.

The weather was frigid during our 2019 visit which took place in November. Last week the air was a bit brisk but the day was bright.

This tree was budding in the spring sunshine.

We five also enjoyed the more traditional playground a few steps away from the concrete turtles.

When we first arrived at the park, a man approached us in the parking lot. Noticing our Tennessee license plate, he wanted to warn us about leaving valuables in our car. He told us how bad stealing was in that area, saying, “Whatever you have heard about crime in St. Louis—it’s twice as bad.” Our son and Ray and I were already cautious, having discussed just the day before about the prevalence of car jackings in St. Louis—pretty scary stuff.

This sign I saw in the park’s parking lot confirmed the kind man’s advice.

God loves us so much that He commanded us thousands of years ago in the Ten Commandments not to steal. Still, He loves those who commit that sin, and He gives us all something very good to replace the practice when we become Christians.

He who steals must steal no longer;
but rather he must labor,
performing with his own hands what is good,
so that he will have something to share
with one who has need.
Ephesians 4:28

In John 10, Jesus warned us about Satan, saying:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy . . . 
John 10:10a

Satan wants to steal our joy, steal our time, kill our hope, destroy our families and our relationship with God.

After His warning, Jesus—in a powerful contrast—promised us abundant life. Let’s follow the advice our family received in that parking lot. Let’s protect our valuables, and I don’t mean protect our stuff. Let’s protect what is really valuable—our joy, our time, our families, our relationship with God—while we live the abundant life Jesus promised and while we remember:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
John 10:10

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