Part 2: the process to be free of the problem (part 1).
This afternoon, my walking partner* was delighted to catch sight of slim yellow-green stripes slithering off into the forest. (I love that she and I are so different, even in this.) She followed for a bit but, thankfully, resisted the urge to pick him up. (I also love that Bev knew snake handling might place a strain our friendship!) Meanwhile, I am pleased to report, I was not a blubbering, hyperventilating mess. I was a somewhat-stressed, definitely-uncomfortable but still-functioning adult. And that, my friends, is victory!
I am certainly a work in progress, but I’ve noticed three elements to becoming free of my fear of s-s-s-snakes: (1) facing my fear head-on, (2) prayer, (3) pressing on.
Number 1. Facing my fear was for me, quite literal. He was big, ugly and completely unfamiliar — a size and genre I had never seen in our region. (Apparently, he was a rat snake.) He was head-on to my hand; I was mere centimeters from certain death! Or not. I’m really glad he was not venomous. I certainly don’t recommend anyone go looking for this sort of experience but it seems this sort of snake shock treatment was required. Something like my worst fear was realized and I survived to tell about it. Who woulda’ thunk it?
Number 2. My sister, God bless her, responded to my desperation in the way she does best. She prayed for me that day and continued to do so, checking in with me periodically. It was a long time before I had favorable news to report. Meanwhile, I began praying, too. Huh. There’s a concept.
Number 3. I’ve encountered dozens more snakes in the several years since my Big Snake! experience. Most times, the grace of God is clearly evident. Perhaps I’m not alone, or I feel safer because I have a garden tool in hand (but still, can’t bring myself to use it…), or I spot the serpent at some distance and am able to prepare myself, or I don’t spot him until he is nearly out of sight and it’s too late to freak out. Regardless, I strive to press on and, over time, I’ve seen slow but steady progress. I seldom hyperventilate or have to reroute these days. However, I remain on high alert…
*And for the other side of the s-s-s-snake story, read Bev’s post. Delightful!