Dr. Don and Jesus the machete

You have to know Dr Don to fully appreciate this – but I post it here just for the sheer joy of having you read it. It is wonderful. Thank you Lord for protecting Dr. Don. (by the way Dr. Don – we were out of anti-venom at the hospital – so you can be ever more thankful to your dad for the lessons).


He will bruise the serpent’s head. Genesis 3:15

For this mountain vignette to make sense, I need to give you a little background. I pray it’s worth your time, that it reminds you of how God prepares and protects us on our journeys:

1. I’m hate all snakes because I’m terrified of all snakes.
2. My friend Joe may never again speak to me after he reads this because he loves all animals.
3. The last thing I read before I climbed the mountain to Paradise today was Mike Fueyo’s note. It read, “Go crush the serpent’s head today.”
4. My Dad, who died just 9 months ago, played ball with me for hours on end when I was a kid, sharpening my pitching arm’s aim.
5. My encounter occurred after I’d been plodding the mountain for three hours and was fairly tired.
6. The encounter occurred while I was lost in another world, reading and reciting the Pilgrim’s Progress in Spanish to polish my presentation and my pronunciation. When I saw the snake watching me, I had just recited the song about the devil attacking like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
7. Our encounter occurred at least two hours away from anything even close to civilization.
8. Jesus always accompanies me in the mountains. Jesus is the name of the machete I carry as a walking stick which has guitar teaching chords written on it: It is my Support, my Protector, my Teacher, my Music. Jesus.
9. I”m typing this very quietly at midnight so Suz and Amy can’t say “I told you so” about drinking coffee (which I NEVER drink) at 8pm:

He absolutely saw me. He straightened himself out parallel to the left side of the path and angled uphill at 10 degrees. His eyes locked on me; he froze and his head came up. He knew what I knew: one of us had to make the next move. There was not room for us both on this narrow path. My mind was racing:
1. Two to four hours from anti-venom. Alone on a mountain. With Jesus.
2. Mike said crush the serpent’s head.
3. Yellow beard is the most poisonous snake. Not yellow-bellied; i.e., not frightened.
4. I wonder if Mike Bright’s engineers can design a hand-held cattle prod I can carry in the mountains to shock myself if I get a snake bite. Electricity could possibly denature snake poison.
5. I don’t want to get close enough to swing Jesus at him; I can’t take the risk of getting bit on the arm.

I step back, delighted to find a baseball-sized rock on the path. I silently say “Thank you” to Dad. My opponent sees me retreat; he turns for the bushes. I wind up. The colors of snake and brush blend. Time is gone. The rock leaves the pitchers’ mound. The strike hits the batter, who rolls out of the bushes onto the path to first base. In a mindless flash, Jesus strikes. The batter’s tail is gone. Jesus strikes again. The head is gone. The inning is over except for a racing heart and a racing mind. Every stick the mind sees for the rest of the two hour journey down the mountain is another batter, another yellow beard awaiting a confrontation with Jesus. I am grateful to finally round third base and be heading safely toward home. I am grateful for the hours of Dad’s pitching practice. I am grateful for Mike’s prophecy. I am grateful for Suzanne’s and your prayers. I am grateful. The inning is over and Jesus has won.

None of us know how much time we have. Let’s play every inning as if it were our last. My unnamed stethoscope and I will be in Haiti Feb 9-24. We’ll appreciate your prayers.