This spring was full of joyful anticipation as our family has had the amazing privilege to watch a family of Eastern Phoebe birds be raised and launched. It's incredible how quickly baby birds grow up. In just a couple of short weeks, they went from teensy eggs to flying Phoebes.
But the greatest surprise came just a few days after Mother's Day.
A huge storm rolled through the night before. The rain was supposed to continue into the next day. Thankfully there was a break in the rain, so the kids and I were able to go on our daily walk through the woods to get the mail.
It was an especially lovely stroll as our dirt and gravel driveway (read: mud) was more puddles than path.
Aren’t puddles just the ultimate fun for kids? All three of my kiddos absolutely love to splash in them. With or without rain boots on!
After we got the mail, the toddler and I toddled slowly back from the mailbox while the two big kids ran ahead to the house.
It wasn't long before they returned with news.
"I have good news and bad news," my daughter said.
"The good news is, we found a turtle! The bad news is, I looked up at the bird nest ‘cause I forgot the baby birds were gone, and I saw this head sticking out with loops hanging down. It was a snake!”
She finally paused for a breath.
“There's a snake in the bird nest!"
Toddler in arms, I hurried back to the house to see if it could possibly be true. We had just seen the mama Phoebe bird revisiting the nest the day before and wondered if she would lay another batch of eggs.
As I reached the patio I anxiously looked up at the nest. Sure enough! A two-foot-long gray rat snake in the bird nest. Eeeew!
My husband was at work, and I try not to make a habit of battling snakes.
Ok, I never battle snakes, except this one time when my husband made a slap-shot with one in our garden and it came flying right at my face (long story).
I decided to just wait and see if he left. That didn't last long as the mother Phoebe soon saw the slithery dude in her domain and started flying at him. He turned to leave.
I decided to catch him in a giant trash can and relocate him to the woods. I couldn't stand the thought of him hanging around waiting for eggs to be laid in that nest for his next meal.
We mamas have to stick together you know!
I grabbed a big, sturdy stick and the trash can. My daughter graciously offered to take pictures of the battle.
By now the snake had made his way across the top of the door frame of the garage door, and I hoped that if I just put the trash can under him, he’d miraculously fall in.
Sneaky guy thought he would just squeeze through the top of the garage door instead.
I hooked a loop of his body with the stick and tried to ease him off into the trash can. He got stuck on the corner of the door frame.
“Eew! Eew! EEEW!” I tried to shake off the grossed-out feeling.
After I regained my composure (and the kids got into a huge fit of giggles), I gave it another go.
Miraculously, my next attempt was a success! With a plop, that big ol’ gray snake landed in the trash can. Praise the Lord!
After snapping a few pictures, we hurried the intruder down to the woods to his new home, reminding him not to come back please. He happily slithered off into the woods.
I shakily made my way back to the house.
“Well at least it will make a good Facebook post,” I muttered.
My daughter handed me the phone so I could check out the pictures.
“Uh, didn’t you get any pictures of me?” I asked as I scrolled through my photos.
“Yes. See? There’s where you’re using the stick to get him off the door. And there’s a good one of the snake,” my daughter happily responded.
All hopes of heroism quickly vanished. There was not one picture of me in the bunch.
The only evidence of my courageous efforts was a shot of my hand holding the stick pointing at the snake.
Oh well, at least my kids got some screen-free entertainment.
Isn't that just like life?
Snakes of discontent, worry, anger, guilt, irritation, and sadness creep in when we try to keep them out. So often I get on social media to check in, post something, or just to kill time and what happens? I get distracted looking at posts and start to feel those snakes sneak into my heart.
Not that people are bad. I think we are all here to help each other out, and social media can be one way to do that. Not just to get likes or followers. Not just to educate or to sell stuff. We are on a bigger mission.
We are all fighting the same enemy. Aiming for the prize of eternal life and bringing everyone we can with us for the ultimate finish.
Fight the good fight! God's got a bigger stick than I do and can keep those snakes out of your nest permanently.
And He wants you to be more than just a Facebook hero.