Stepping On A Snake: When You Take Things Too Literally

I have this thing about looking for things in the sky.  When jets fly over, I make a game of trying to find them since their sound doesn’t match where they are in the sky.  At night, I enjoy watching them criss-crossing the dark sky, red lights blinking.  I imagine who might be on board, where they are going and what they can see.  I watch for the International Space Station when it passes and set my alarm to get up early to watch a meteor shower.  We often get helicopters flying over our neighborhood, so I’m always curious as to what they are doing.

One night, a few weeks ago, my curiosity got the best of me.

I was sitting at the table working on my computer when I heard the sound of an approaching helicopter.  I could tell it was flying low.  Of course, I had to go check it out.

I didn’t bother to turn on any outside lights or put on my flip-flops.  I just barreled out the door, cell phone in hand.  I immediately stepped on something squishy, like a garden hose.  “Hmmm, I don’t remember the hose being so close to the door.”  The helicopter flew past our house so I decided to investigate the hose I stepped on.  I used the flashlight feature on my cell phone.

It wasn’t a hose after all.  It was a snake!  I had stepped on a snake! 

Mr. Snake was stretched out right in front of the door, blocking my entry. 

My husband had already locked the doors for the night and I had no key to either door.  I certainly wasn’t going to step back over the snake. After being stepped on, I imagined him to be an angry snake. 

I did the only sensible thing to do — I called my husband (who was in the house). 

He couldn’t figure out why I would be calling him since he had just left me sitting at the table.  I was relieved when he finally answered my call.

“I just stepped on a snake and he’s blocking the door!  You need to come shut the door before he get’s in the house and open the garage door so I can get in.” 

Thankfully, the snake did not slither into the house.  I think he was still stunned that a medium-sized human had stepped on him.  I am even more thankful that he didn’t bite me and that he didn’t appear to be poisonous.  That would have been a whole different story.

Snake on Brick Sidewalk
Snake!

A few nights later, I heard another helicopter flying over.  This time, I peeked out the window to see where it was going.  I also don’t leave the house without something on my feet. I’m not interested in stepping on a snake again any time soon. 

I have a framed print in my bathroom from Ann Voskamp.  Several years ago, at the beginning of the new year, she made a 25 Point Manifesto for Sanity you could print for display.  It was designed to help you keep your days more organized.  One of the sayings is “Step on the Snake Before Breakfast.”  Her explanation was that you should crush one hard thing that is tempting you to think there are impossible things—to crush that one thing and prove that all things are possible with God.

It’s one thing to figuratively “step on the snake” before breakfast but quite another to step on a real snake after dinner.  I think I’ll stick with the former.


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