Tag Archives: pick up snake

Through the Eyes (and the nerve) of the Spirit

A spirit of fear… something I am very familiar with.  Although God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, I made my own.  From a very young age, my earliest memories, as a matter of fact, have me running from something.  If it jumped, hopped, mooed, flew, chirped, slithered, creaked, groaned or growled, chances are, I was running, screaming at the top of my lungs in fear that whatever it was would get me.  Now, only a few of the things were really something to fear.  For example, the time the hogs chased me down the hill… that was a fearful moment that was legitimate. My mom and mamaw always kept one ear open for my shrieks of terror for they were many… and they would always come running to save me from whatever it was that had sent me into spasms that time.  This fear followed me through my childhood, teenage years and right on up into my adult life.  I have nearly cracked glass many times as the objects of my fear, real or imagined, manifested in my life.  Once I delved full speed into photography, some of the fears were faced through the zoom lens of my camera.  It became apparent quite quickly that if I wanted the good shots, I had to get closer.  And my need and desire to photograph nature went a long way to helping me overcome fear of things like grasshoppers, caterpillars and bees.  Over time, I got closer to frogs and even managed to get within several feet of snakes.  Spiders, well, there is really little to say.  Terrified doesn’t even begin to cover it and I doubt that will ever change.  I remember the big garden spider with the amazing web that I photographed a few  years ago.  I was looking at it through a zoom lens and was several feet away from it.  When I focused that creature, I actually felt sick, so I feel it is safe to say that once an arachnophobe, always an arachnophobe.  But I digress… a few months ago, I made a conscious decision that I was not going to be such a baby about everything.  That decision was challenged when my zoom lens was broken and I had to practically get in the pond with the frogs to get the good shot, but I prayed fervently that they wouldn’t jump on me and God was faithful and kept them preoccupied with each other and they didn’t jump… at least not on me.  But today was my crowning achievement.  I was in the cornfield, chopping out weeds, mom and I talking and having as much fun as you can have when you’re doing hard manual labor in the burning heat.  Dad was nearby working on some piece of equipment or other and talking with one of his friends.  I turned to say something to mom and there, slithering across the field, was a black snake.  A pretty big one, likely four feet or a little better.  It was heading toward the house and I stepped closer to get a better look.  My spirit of fear, which would usually kick in and have me running in the opposite direction, did not show it’s face.  Dad told me to be careful, that it would bite, and with same breath to not let the dogs get it. I walked up to that snake, picked it up behind its head and held it.  It wrapped itself around my arm, tongue flicking out and eyes beady, but I just looked at it.  I had a good grip on it just behind it’s head and I had no fear.  I was so thankful for that moment.  It was, and will continue to be, a turning point in my life.  God used this snake to show me that my fear did not have to control me.  I carried the snake, still wrapped around my arm, to the edge of the field and tossed it across the creek so it could slither elsewhere.  Now while I don’t plan on becoming a snake charmer anytime in the near future, I feel empowered, nearly high from the accomplishment.I went back to chopping the weeds and heard my dad, who has saved me from many critters, say to his friend “I would have bet $500 she wouldn’t have done that”.  I told mom what he said and she said “Phhht… I would have bet the farm.”  This has been a good day, one filled with hard work, serious sweat and jumping a hurdle that even I didn’t know I could jump.  At this point, I don’t think there is anything I can’t do… well, unless it has to do with a spider.  God didn’t give me a spirit of fear… I brought it on myself and am well on my way to overcoming it.  Since I am the photographer in the family, no one can document this on film, but three witnesses should be as good as a photograph.

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