If It Was a Snake

If it was a snake, it would’ve bit you.

I’m hearing the voice of the red-headed lady who raised me in my head this morning. They were words she spoke often to me as a child.

Ignoring the frighteningly bad grammar, I admit to a certain amount of myopia.  By that, I mean the figurative kind of shortsightedness. 

You know, the kind that only sees what it wants to see.

After midnight last night, I stood in the adhesives section at my local Wally-World, staring at row upon row of glue containers and bemoaning the lack of any alternatives. 

I had started a job which absolutely had to be finished before I headed home for the night, only to find I had not tightened the lid on my bottle of contact cement.  It was the only kind of glue that would work for the job at hand, so out to the local big-box discount store I went. 

Twenty-four/seven.  Shopping on my schedule.  Never mind that many of the oddest folks do their shopping there in the wee hours of the morning. 

Come to think of it, I was there.  Talk about odd…

Why was I staring at the shelves instead of purchasing glue?  Well, because there was no brown bottle marked contact cement to be found.  Not one.  The shelf sticker was there, but the metal surface above it was empty. 


I stood there for at least fifteen minutes, looking at the alternatives.  No contact cement, only super glue and some weird stuff they call gorilla.  None of them would perform the task I needed the glue for.

I finally asked a passing employee if there were any of the missing glue bottles in the stock room.  He obligingly scanned the sticker and informed me that there were none in the store—none even, in the regional warehouse.  I was out of luck.

I stood there perplexed.  What would I do?  How could I keep my promise to that little girl who needed her clarinet first thing this morning?

I mourned another missed deadline and the unhappy look on the girl’s face when she realized I had failed her.  In my head, failure was complete.  Utter.

Another few moments passed, and the employee next to me cleared his throat. 

“Is that all I can help you with?” he asked.

contactcement1I jerked back to the reality that he had done all he could and simply nodded.  In that instant my eye caught the label on a can.  Right next to the empty space I had been staring at sightlessly.  Hopelessly. 

Right next to it.

A large can of the exact thing I needed.  Just not in the package I expected to find.  It was a much better deal, as far as the price went.

I had been six inches away from the solution to my problem all that time!  Sitting right there, waiting for me to notice. 

Wrong package.  Wrong color.  Wrong size. 

If it was a snake, it would’ve bit me.

I wonder.  How many times have I given up because I couldn’t see the solution to my problem? 

In our myopic pursuit of answers, how often have we missed the provision right in front of our faces?  Our God knows exactly what we need.

Exactly.  What.  We.  Need.

All we have to do is open our eyes.  And hearts.

And get ready to get back to work.




And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day.
(Exodus 14:13a ~ KJV)


If you do not raise your eyes, you will think you are the highest point.
(Antonio Porchia ~ Argentinian poet ~ 1885-1968)



© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.

2 thoughts on “If It Was a Snake

  1. Another good one. And one I’m sure that will resonate with many. For me, I have this internal dialog that just confirms what I think I see. So then it cinches it and I shut down. It’s interesting because my husband used to describe me at times like a metal door that would just slam shut and at that moment, nothing else would get in. And while I tried denying it for years it wasn’t until I saw it illustrated in one of my siblings that I had to catch my breath. THAT was what he was talking about! And through the years I have learned one little phrase that has helped me keep a doorstopper in there so the door doesn’t slam shut.

    The phrase? “What if I’m wrong?”

    For somehow when I got it in my mind that I was right and that’s all there was to it, I would slam shut. And now that I realize I think I’m right, I’m even pretty sure I’m right, but I COULD be wrong. Well, it’s enough.

    And your post reminded me of all that. 🙂

    1. I love your thought process, Anne.
      And the idea that this little story can make people think past the aisle of the local discount store is a nice reminder for me that God uses the strangest things to get His point across.
      Your door stopping phrase is one I’m still learning to say. It’s not easy for one as dogmatic as I am to admit even the slightest possibility of being wrong, but there it is. I have been and will be again. I could be this time, too.
      Thanks for the reminder that we’re all human.
      Blessings, my friend!

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