Snake in the boat

My instructor at school is turning 50 this week. She is an avid kayaker so she invited all 30+ students in her program to join her on the water for her birthday.   Many of the students were unable to join us.  Some had family commitments, some had to work and some were just too uncomfortable to sit in a boat on the water.  All in all, we had 16 boats on the water Saturday morning.

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day.  Clear blue filled the sky from edge to edge.  Crisp air surrounded us with a gentle breathe of breeze now and again.  Water was still and smooth.  Water bugs danced across the surface of the canal to entertain us as we waited for everyone to arrive.

We put in on the canal that spurs from the Savannah River.  We paddled our way from the Locks to downtown which is about a seven mile stint.  After reaching our destination, we went to a downtown pizza joint to share beverages, pizza and stories of our trip.    Truly it was a success simply because no one was injured, drowned, snake bitten or capsized.  But, the morning was so much more than memorable. It was splendid.

Below, you see my friend Jon, amidst our rainbow row of boats, waiting for a chance to get his boat wet.  This was Jon’s first trip in a kayak.  He brought along his wife, Mary.  It was so nice to have her join us.

My sweet people joined us, as well.  James, Glory and Joy each had a boat and enjoyed our fellowship.  They are all active children and strong swimmers, so they fit right in and were able to keep up, though I have to admit that Joy was a little tuckered out by the time we reached our destination.

As we zigzagged our way down the canal, I was struck by one young man.  Paul is a nice young man whom I would describe as being “street wise.”  He has no boating experience.  He talked a good bit the week before about being afraid of being shark bitten when in the ocean.  I don’t know if he was nervous about kayaking, but I doubt he had much experience, if any at all.

I would assume that he has a fear of snakes, if he doesn’t like sharks and is more of a city man. Yet, I noticed that he spent most of his time paddling along the shoreline.  Snakes are notorious for dropping out of low-hanging limbs into boats.  It is best not to paddle underneath them.  He was told this, but didn’t heed the warning.   I kept wondering if maybe he didn’t believe the “crier?”  Did he think this was an “old wives tale?” Or, did he think that he would travel unscathed for some reason?  Was he watching for snakes?  Did he think he would be able to move his boat quickly out of the way, should one try to drop into his boat?

I am thankful that God chose to protect Paul and not allow him to meet a snake face to face …. or face to calf, as it might have been. I’m not sure why he paddled mile after mile, hugging the bank, but it made me consider myself and my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

Like Jesus spoke in parables, paralleling the spiritual and physical worlds, God convicts and teaches me through similar daily events.

Do I not believe the “crier” when I am warned of danger?  Do I discredit warning as tales, when in fact, it is truth? Do I think that “I” will not be touched, when others may? Do I think, by watching for peril, that I will be able to jump aside unharmed, should jeopardy be closeby?

Surely, it is true.

May God reveal more fully
my “untouchable” heart
and soften my spirit
to be teachable,
May I hear His voice,
hang on His words,
and be changed
without Him having to throw a snake in my boat to get my attention.


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