The turtle knew that he was quite close to the end of his journey; he could see the houses of the small village in the distance, and he knew that soon he would be there. It was sunny, and the bright sun made the turtle squint, but not far from where he was standing, he could see some animals lying by the side of the road. As he got closer, he saw that they were pigs.
"What are you doing lazing around when we have somewhere to go?" he demanded of the closest pig, who was lying contentedly still. "Don't you know there is a place we have to be very soon?".
The pig rolled over and looked sleepily at the turtle. "Why are you in such a hurry?" she asked. "It's a beautiful day, and so warm". She shifted her gaze to her piglets, who were happily playing in the grass.
The turtle stamped his little foot. "You are being so lazy!" he shouted. "There isn't much time, and you're wasting it! There are much more important things to do than play!".
The pig sat up. "Look around you", she said. "See the sunlight? See the flowers? Is our journey so important that we should ignore everything around us and miss all this? There is plenty of time. Don't you understand? You are being like the Humans, who are so busy rushing from place to place that they never take the time to appreciate what is right before their eyes".
The turtle lost his temper. "How can you waste your time playing?" he yelled. "It's ridiculous that you would choose to stop and sleep when such an incredible thing will be happening so soon!". He fell silent when he realized that all the pigs and piglets had stopped and were staring at him in astonishment. "I mean... I meant... I'm sorry for yelling", he mumbled in a small voice.
The mother pig grunted, and all the piglets came and sat around her. The other pigs drew close, and sat down. "You know", the mother pig said, "the Humans often try to tell us that the world is just a distraction from more important things - things they say they think about all the time. They tell each other that the Creator can only be found in certain buildings, and in those buildings, they tell each other that their words are the only right words, and that all other words are wrong. Worse, they say that all the things in life that make us happy are evil, and that really good people spend all their time trying to ignore the world, because everything in it is a temptation to sin".
She looked at the turtle. "Do you believe that? Do you believe that a crisp lettuce leaf, or a juicy carrot, is a bad thing? Do you believe that the sun on our faces, and the soft grass, and butterflies to chase is wrong?".
"Umm..." said the turtle, not so sure of his thoughts, now. The pig smiled, and invited him to sit by her.
"The Creator made this world for us. He gave us skin to feel, and eyes to see, tongues to taste, and noses to smell with. He intended for us to understand what a gift he has given us, and though we have been given ears to listen, he sometimes speaks in such a quiet voice that we do not hear him. He speaks to us in the summer breeze, and in winter snowflakes. His voice can be heard in the laughter of friends, and the murmur of a mother to her sleeping child. He is grass, and earth, and ocean and sky. How can we repay him for this incredible gift, except to enjoy it with all our senses?
"The day is beautiful, and the village is close by. Even you, little turtle, will be at the stable in time. Whether we journey together or separately, no matter how urgent our quest, we must take the time each day to listen for the Creator's voice".
The little turtle felt very, very small, and was ashamed to realize that he had only noticed the stones in the road, and the cold nights, and had not even looked at the places he had seen on his journey. He hung his head, and tears came into his eyes as he realized that he had been so eager to see something special, he had missed half of his journey there.
"Don't be sad", said the mother pig. "come, play with us for a little, and you will find the rest of the journey less hard".
And so the turtle played with the pigs, and felt the sun on his face, and resolved to listen harder for the small voice that was always in his heart, if only he would pay attention.
I am the light that shines over all things. I am everywhere. From me all came forth, and to me all return. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift a stone, and you will find me there.
-The Gospel of Thomas