The lesson of the rattlesnake

I used to live in the deserts of Eastern Washington.  Besides having amazing vistas because there were no trees to block the view, our closest neighbors were often reptiles. No surprise really, because our farm provided warm dirt and a ready supply of water. I still have the rattler from one that came too close.

Years later, in our home sitting perched atop a hillside in a residential area of Chelan, I wasn’t thinking about snakes.  I left those 3-foot serpents on our failed farm where they deserved to be. One hot day when I was alone in our downstairs office, I glanced over and there coiled up ready to strike was a little baby rattlesnake.

Trust me, instinct takes over. The closest thing to contain it was a can of coffee. Dumping the coffee on the counter, I immediately slapped it over the snake. I did not want this creature escaping in MY HOUSE.  I put enough weight on top of the can while I figured out a better option.

Proceeding to Phase Two of rattlesnake containment, I selected a large glass jar. I wanted to SEE the snake afterwards.  The challenge would be replacing the coffee can with the jar. Deep breaths, prayer, and super quick hands required.

When I made the switch, the snake uncoiled and struck the bottom of the jar allowing me mere seconds to slap the lid on top. Mission accomplished.  With my pounding heart and shaking hands, I held the baby rattlesnake, which now was furiously striking the sides of the jar.


It was so cute to look at nestled in the jar. If I had only known then what I know now: baby rattlesnake venom is more potent than a full-sized rattlesnake. It seemed too small to be that dangerous. Lesson? Bad stuff can come in small packages.

I’ve seen that in other areas of my life too. It was the small things I did that led me away from where I needed to be. It was the small lies that led to more heartache, than simply telling the truth at the beginning. And especially for me, it was the small choices taking me to places that led to suffering. Yep, bad stuff comes in small packages. If I ever forget that, I only need to remember my baby rattlesnake.

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