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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Lessons on the Snakes of Life

Yesterday as I was cleaning the patio I saw a small brown, therefore probably poisonous, snake lying under one of the plants. It was outstretched, lying perfectly still. It looked like it was thinking. Possibly wondering where it wanted to go and curl up. I held my breath, backed away, then turned and raced to the garage to get the hoe. Once back and with the hoe poised to kill I sneaked up on the snake still lying in the same outstretched position. I tiptoed up behind it and THWACK! I got it! Right behind its head! I held the hoe firmly down on the pavement but oddly the snake didn’t squirm. I edged a bit closer and noticed that it was already dead, possibly injured at some point by one of my rabbits (one of them killed a rat once) then dried up by the hot sun. When I stooped to look more closely I saw that it wasn’t a snake at all but a long brown dead leaf which had fallen from the Amaryllis plant above. Whew! No snake infestation. Thank goodness.

But then that night snakes infested my dreams. I dreamed that I was in some sort of camp (I’ve been reading The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century by Robert Royal). There were no people around since they were all either working in the fields or in brain-washing classes. I was in charge of cleaning the Commandant’s office and there lying on the carpet was a long skinny green snake, which very obviously meant that there was a snake infestation, or soon going to be, which in turn meant trouble from the evil Commandant. Wanting to keep an eye on the snake to see where it went, I called out for someone to bring me a hoe.

No one appeared so I called out again, this time to my daughter: “Please get the hoe and bring it to me so I can kill this snake!” Suddenly my daughter appeared standing in the doorway of my dream holding what seemed to be a large carpet bag packed for a trip. I asked where she was going. She replied that she was going off to seek answers to the world’s problems with a group on a mountaintop where they would contemplate various problematic issues then return with profound answers.

I told her that a problem existed here, right now, and the answer to it was to simply get the hoe, give it to me and I would take care of the problem myself by killing the snake. The Commandant would never know therefore we would not be punished. But she turned and left without further reply.

Just then someone handed me a larger fatter snake with green and yellow diamond shaped designs on its skin and said that if I held it “just so” it would eat the smaller snake. I tried but it wouldn’t do anything. I was afraid the larger snake might bite me, then noticed that someone had cruelly handed me a child’s fuzzy stuffed animal. I got angry and called out once more for the hoe in order to kill the snake before the Commandant returned, got irate and punished everyone in the camp.

Suddenly I heard a rumbling noise so still trying to keep an eye on the snake I walked outside the office to find a large canvas-topped truck filled with people stopped in the middle of the dirt road. It had an open-air cab and beside the driver (steering wheel on the right side) was a very important grinning man with a large checkbook on his lap. He announced that he knew I needed help and he and his organization were there to do just that. He never got off the truck but scribbled in his checkbook then leaned over and handed me an over-sized check for hundreds of thousands of dollars and said that with the money I could hire snake removal services to eradicate the snake infestation problem, not only from the Commandant’s office, but from the entire camp and never have to worry again.

Or this?
“But,” I told him, “all I need is simply for someone to get the hoe for me and I can take care of this problem myself right now. The hoe is over there. Please just hand it to me so I can kill the snake and no snake infestation will even occur to begin with." 

But he just smiled and waved and off he and his people went in their truck, leaving me in a cloud of dust. I stood there with a check in one hand and a stuffed animal snake in the other, both of them useless for the situation directly at hand.

Then I woke up from the dream. I thought, “What was that all about?” The next thought in my drowsy mind was, “The UN. Must be what they’re like.” Then I briefly thought it would be a good idea to have the leaf killing hoe from the garage next to me in the bed in case I fell back asleep and continued the dream. That way I wouldn’t have to depend on anyone else to get it for me.

When problems arise in the world that can easily be solved, what happens? Many times the UN or some local, national or international organization steps in with money to take care of the situation with their big ideas and agenda stipulations to go along with their funding. Or a group thinks about the situation for months or years trying to figure out an answer to a long resolved problem. Or someone thinks it’s funny to scam us into thinking they’re helping.

But nothing works better than the old, “I’ll just do it myself.” Remember Mother Teresa? The first sick and dying person she found on the street she took to a hospital which didn’t have the time of day to help her or the person. So she just did it herself and the rest is history.

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