Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Snake on the Path!

I have so enjoyed biking thes past few days. The Katy Trail path I follow is covered by a tunnel of trees and is flat as a pancake. Even in 100 degree weather, the trail is cool enough to pedal along as breezes from the Missouri River accompany bikers.

What also has been accompanying bikers lately, however, is not so enjoyable.


I feel like Woody in Toy Story, "There's a snake in my boot!" Except it has been snakes on my path!

Yesterday's snake was quite a sight. She was golden with a large lump where she had just swallowed some creature, and she was stretched across the path displaying all five-feet plus of her.

She wasn't going to budge for anyone. Two men just about to ride over her, yelped like little girls when I turned around and yelled, "Snake!"

We all marveled at her size, and of course, her potential danger.

I have thought the past two days about that snake. D.H. Lawrence wrote a great poem capturing our abhorance and yet fascination with snakes. We watch them, but do so in repulsion, or at least most do.

I remember one of my former friends' son had a snake for a pet. I didn't understand it. She really didn't either, but she was a loving mom and wanted to please him.

Until he went off to college and left the snake in her care. She called me one morning asking me for help.

"The snake has a sore throat!"

"What? How is that possible? They are all throat, aren't they? That must be one bad throat!"

"I need you to help me take it to the vet. I can't carry the cage alone."

Arriving in her basement, I looked in horror as the snake, a boa by the way, was sitting with his mouth opened wide, exposing its fangs for all and facing the heat lamp.

We got it to the vet. To add insult to injury, she had to give it medicine twice a day.

She is a better mom than I. Our friendship did not include holding that snake as she plugged medicine down its mouth. Sorry, I had my limits.

Back to my snake problems, though. There is a fascination and repulsion with these creatures.

I immediately think of Satan, don't you, when you see one. The Garden of Eden, that image of the temptation of Eve.

They remind me of evil, and this week has been a week of evil news for our school family. One student's aunt was murdered. Another student's grandfather died after a long struggle with illness.

Death and disease are just reminders to me that life is NOT the way it is supposed to be. It is NOT the way God intended it at the start.

I can become discouraged and frightened about that. Many of us have cried in mourning and grief for our fellow moms at school who have had these losses.

What does one say when facing these "snakes on the road of life?"

I don't want to be like Job's friends and give platitudes or warnings or even answers because I just don't have any. I know these things can happen all too easily. I know life is fragile. I know some day I will face death or the loss of someone I love as well.

So again, I ask, "What do I say when faced with the snake, the reality of evil in this life?"

So far, I am saying very little except asking God to help these families. Trusting God will send His Holy Spirit to comfort as promised. Focusing on the fact that the snake does not have victory, this life is not all there is, and a better life is waiting for each person, including those who were lost this week by my friends.

While the snake reminds me that this life is NOT the way it was meant to be, she also reminds me that Jesus has won the battle so that I may live life with Him without death, disease, sadness...the way He meant it to be all along.

Meanwhile, I pray and bike a little more carefully.

For His Glory,

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