Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: RASH (04/12/18)
TITLE: Above the Snake Line
By Phillip Cimei
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“Hello,” came an inquisitive greeting. “I saw you pacing. Is there something I can help you with?”
“Well…ah…well…I’m your neighbor, Robby. We moved in last week.”
“Yes, I saw you playing with Jeffrey yesterday.”
“Yeah, I…well…I mean, that’s why I’m here.”
“Why is that?”
“Jeff, that’s what he told me to call him, promised to come over to my house today.”
“He did, did he?”
“Yeah, after we had such a good time yesterday, I told him I had some new video games. I also said I would ask my mom to make some chocolate chip cookies”
“Jeffrey is at his best friend, Gary’s, house. Are you sure he promised?’
“Yep, he even said, ‘Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.’”
Mr. Harvey, Jeffrey’s dad, rubbed his chin in consternation. “I am very sorry that he rashly promised you that because I remember him telling his friend, Gary, that he would come to his house today. I will deal with him when he returns.”
That evening at dinner nothing was said about the visit by Robby. But, Mr. Harvey instructed Jeffrey that he and Jeffrey were going backpacking up Glacier Gorge the next day. Jeffrey was ecstatic. Living in Colorado offered him many opportunities to share this activity, his favorite, with his father.
The next day, Mr. Harvey parked the car about 8,000 feet up the mountain at a designated entry point. He made sure they left the usual hiking trail and roughed it along the fringes. The arduous ascent was a gauntlet of boulders, jagged rocks, downed trees, and brush—a taxing gateway to upcoming spiritual instruction. After a couple of thousand grueling feet, Mr. Harvey found a safe ledge to accomplish today’s real mission.
He looked down at an altimeter he carried and said, “This is just about right.”
“What do you mean?” asked Jeffrey.
“We are at about 10,000 feet.”
“We are just above the snake line.”
"Snake line? What’s that?”
Mr. Harvey explained that scientist have discovered that snakes, like the timber rattler, could only survive below this altitude. They called it “The Snake Line.”
Jeffrey formed a smile on his face, “That’s cool. I remember last year when I almost got bitten by a five-foot rattler.”
“Maybe God was trying to make a point.”
“I made you climb up off the trail on purpose. Pretty hard, right?”
“I’ll say. I had to crawl on my hands and knees part of the way.”
“Life is like that climb, Jeffrey. We must overcome those obstacles to reach a point above that snake line. The devil is referred to as a snake. And as a serpent, he slithers around hidden waiting for an unsuspecting victim. And, as quick as a lightning bolt, he sinks his fangs into him.”
Mr. Harvey had Jeffrey’s full attention now, “Remember the day before yesterday when you were playing with that new neighbor boy, Robby?’
“Yeah, he is pretty cool.”
“Do you remember the promise you made in a hurry, in a moment of weakness, knowing that you had already made plans with Gary. And knowing that you couldn’t keep that promise?”
“Yeah, I said that without thinking.”
“What impression do you think you left with that new friend?”
“That I am a liar, and I don’t keep promises.”
“Exactly. Jesus once said, 'Swear not at all.' What do you think he meant?”
Jeffrey had a perplexed look on his face, “Don’t cuss?”
“No, that swearing means making a promise. It is very serious stuff.”
“Ah, how come?”
Mr. Harvey placed his arm around Jeffrey and said, “Because we are playing God when we rashly promise something we don’t really know for sure can be fulfilled. That is why you and your sister get so mad at me when I say I don’t make promises, but say, ‘If the Lord wills.’”
Jeffrey sat silently for a long time just starring down the mountain. Then, he took in a deep breath and with a look of determination said, “Lord will’n, tomorrow I will apologize to Robby.
They took the trail back down. You know. Snakes! !
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