I have been blessed with wonderful friends. They add much joy to my life. Many of them remember my birthday. And most of them call before they come.
But recently, I had an uninvited guest in my home. He barged right into my house without being asked, and he refused to leave even when we threatened bodily harm. Talk about stubborn and pushy.
Did I mention he was about 16 inches long, and had a checkered pattern?
The scaly creature slithered in uninvited, and didn’t announce his arrival until he was in my daughter’s room. He crawled past her foot and sent her into screams of terror unlike any I’ve ever heard. Then, he wiggled under her bed.
Now, if you’ve not had the experience of looking under a teenaged girl’s bed, you have led a sheltered life, indeed. That slimy fella must have thought he’d wandered into the Amazon Rainforest, what with all the obstacles and unidentified barriers. There were pens, pencils, papers of every size, shape and color, mateless socks, stuffed animals, paperback books, an empty tube of lip gloss, one hoop earring, two bangle bracelets, three dollar bills and a partridge in a pear tree.
Or something like that.
In a flash, he was lost to us. But we knew he was there.
We knew one of us would have to go in after him. But who?
Let me tell you, this was one time I was glad I’m not a man. I gladly played the role of the helpless female. Mark went after the snake.
Rather than crawling under the bed, he removed the mattresses. Then, armed with a hoe and a shovel, he went in.
“You stand at the door,” he told me. “Don’t let him get out.” Then, he handed me a broom.
A broom, people. As if that’s going to protect me.
But it didn’t matter. If that serpent had come within ten feet of me, I’d have been on the roof. Still, I put on a brave front and held my bristled sword at the ready.
Mark scooped and shifted the under-the-bed contents to the side, looking for the sly fellow. Time and again, he caught a glimpse of the scaly pattern, but he was too fast. A few times, he almost had him. He may have been a small critter, but he was feisty. Each time Mark tried to corner him, the snake hissed and tried to strike.
Finally, and just before I had permanent heart failure, Mark got him! “Hold the door open,” he called out, pinching the long, wriggling creature between the hoe and the shovel. I opened the front door, then moved as far away from that thing as I could. Then, on the sidewalk in front of my house, the creature lost its head.
“We might want to keep the snake,” I told him, “so we can show it to the Animal Control people.”
“Keep him?” He looked at me like I was nuts.
“Yeah, in a zip-lock. Just ‘til tomorrow.”
Now, how that got interpreted into, “Put the snake in the refrigerator,” I don’t know. I was thinking of something more along the lines of a cooler in the garage. All I do know is that the next morning, I nearly had heart failure for the second time in just a few hours.
The snake turned out to be a harmless garter snake, according to the Animal Control people. Harmless, my foot. He nearly sent me and my daughter into the great beyond.
It kind of got me thinking, though. When a snake came into our home, we did everything we could to get rid of him! We didn’t say, “Awww, he’s not going to hurt anything. Let him stay.”
Yet, we allow all kinds of snakey things to slither into our minds. We fill our eyes and ears with slander and violence and near-pornography, whether through the television or the radio or simply standing around the water cooler. There is nothing positive about those things. If we don’t aggressively work to keep them at bay, and to run them off and behead them when they come uninvited, they’ll make themselves at home. And before we know it, we’ll have a whole nest of the nasty, sinful stuff wrapped around our hearts.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t welcome any kind of snakes into my life – literal or figurative. Let’s do all we can to keep them away, and to run them off when they show up. Let’s make sure that the only thing headed into the great beyond is the Snake himself.
2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”