sympathy for a snake…almost

ok – to fully appreciate this post you have to first understand my fear of snakes. I cannot even remotely abide pictures of the creepy crawly sneak-up-on-u-&-eat-u-alive things. Once, my father-in-law dared me to go thru the reptile house @ the national zoo and being the entirely mature person that I am (NOT), I met the dare – only to FREEZE SOLID in the middle of the building, terrified and hyperventilating.

So, here is my story. I was driving along, making a turn on to the next street when I saw a rather long – probably 4+ ft – black snake in the middle of the intersection. He (i have no idea why he has to be male, but just go with it, K?) was very much alive and I know this because he was moving around. Well, moving is a euphemism. It was more like we was winding back and forth desperately, head in the air, tail flicking back and forth (as I type this, I am breaking into a mild sweat, just so you know). All his energy was clearly being expended, and yet, he was going nowhere. He made zero forward progress. He was literally flailing around desperately trying to get off of the hot asphalt, out of harm’s way, and into the grass (only to lie in wait to kill me I am certain).

Later, I drove past the same intersection, and there he lay, dead as a doornail, flat as a flitter (I have no idea what that means – my Great Grandmother use to say it) and crispy as a tortilla. In the exact same place.  He never made it to safety – or anywhere for that matter. As crazy as it sounds, I felt sorry for the dude. Not sorry enough that I wished him well – he is a SNAKE people! – but sorry that he lost the fight. Sorry that all his desperation was wasted.

So, I started thinking. How many people to we encounter in our lives that are like that snake – we want NOTHING to do with them, they scare us and make us sweat. And yet, they are doing serious battle. Something within them is desperately fighting the fact that they are stuck, in harm’s way and cannot make forward progress no matter how much of their precious energy they expend.

Now, nothing on this green earth would have gotten me out of my CRV to help that snake. I am sure he would have just used the opportunity to eat me alive (the constant purpose of ALL snakes on the planet, as I have mentioned). And, it might not have been safe for me to stop in the middle of the intersection anyway.

But when we encounter struggling snakes – the people who irritate, sadden, enrage and scare us on a daily basis – are we avoiding stopping because the intersection of our lives is genuinely unsafe? Or is it because we are not sympathetic enough to wish them well…in the form of extending a hand, a kind word. Is it because we just don’t wanna…and we only realize the selfishness of that when we see the result of everyone else taking the same stance…the crispy remains of someone who just simply lost the fight.

I don’t want to pretend that I now believe in rescuing every snake I see. But I also don’t want to miss those divine appointments with people who maybe are not the most comfortable to me. I don’t want more and more people on the fringes of life to continue to lose the battle for hope of a future…hope of rescue…hope of something so much better.


2 Responses to “sympathy for a snake…almost”

  1. 1 a fernandez
    August 31, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    First off, I HATE snakes too!!! UHHHH

    Second off, I agree with what you wrote. I was one of those ‘scary’ people back in the day. And I will forever be grateful to the girl who invited me to church. Sometimes it is hard for me to invite people to church. Mainly because I don’t want their drama to become my drama, but I need to remember that someone took the time with me and also that just because I invite them doesn’t mean that God will use me as their mentor. It’s hard to step back from my protective family bubble and remember what I was before Him.

  2. 2 Patty
    August 31, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Great thought-provoking blog posts Heather. And this snake one… ouch. I saw such a person when out and about just yesterday. Someone I worked with about 17 years ago. This person has always been a bit scary to me. I’ve seen them while shopping 3 or 4 times I think in the last 3 years (since I moved up this way), and each time decided it was easier to say nothing (so did he – if he saw me – which was convenient).

    Earlier today I prayed that prayer Pastor Mark suggested yesterday, asking God to speak to me about what He wants me to do. About an hour ago, I was just telling my husband about seeing this person and feeling bad about choosing not to say something. Then I read this blog post. God didn’t wait long to answer THAT prayer!

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