Wayne Neller

It’s an amazing morning at Selah. The sun is shining brightly. The birds are singing loudly. There is a crispness in the air that whispers fall is just over the horizon. 

We sit on the porch, drinking in the beauty (and our coffee), while giving thanks to God for the gift of this homestead. 

For months now we have known that a bat had somehow found its way into our screened porch. We weren’t exactly excited. Yet multiple attempts of trying to encourage the bat out the screened door failed miserably. 

(News flash: Local police find retired couple on porch, bloodied, armed with brooms, and using language they shouldn’t. Details at 11). 

My bride writes this to our daughter regarding this morning’s incident: “Just now Wayne says, ‘Come over here and look at this — actually you may not want to.’ I get up from the porch chair and walk over to the corner of the porch and look up expecting to see the bat. Instead, I said, ‘Oh sh--, it’s a snake.’

“Wayne got the ladder and I got the shovel. He carefully pinned the snake’s head against the rafter. (I talked him out of using the shotgun). The shovel was dull, so I got the kitchen shears — they were dull. I got the scissors — dull again. 

“Finally, I climbed up the ladder with Wayne and took hold of the shovel while still pinning the snake’s head to the ceiling. It simply refused to come out fully from the crack. I handed Wayne the loppers and he leaned way over with loppers in hand, cutting off the snake’s head. Wayne slowly pulled the rest of the snake out of the rafter / crack and following it was the bat. 

Ahhhhh!

“You should have seen us coming down that ladder as the bat fell out of the crack and toward the ladder. The bat and snake head lay there on the porch floor — bat dying from snake bite and wiggling, face up and baring his teeth. The snake head wiggling with his mouth open. 

“I wish I drank. 

“I cleaned up the blood, the remains of both creatures are now over the bank (thanks to Wayne) and I am drinking hot chocolate and crunching cashews.”

Folks ask me, “Are you bored now that you have left the ministry of planting churches, training pastors and leading churches?” My response? “Um, no.” (Or words to that effect). 

As the commercial declares, life comes at you fast. And sports fans, it’s true. I’m of the mind that people who are bored have closed their eyes to the world around them. Keep them open for goodness sake. Life is moving and changing around you constantly. 

We can and should prepare ourselves for what we know is coming. 

Cut and split the wood necessary for the winter if you live in West Virginia. Gather hurricane supplies for the summer if you live in Florida. Store a dozen fire extinguishers if you live in California. 

Yet not all things can be anticipated. Someone famous has said that life’s a dance you learn as you go. I believe you should build and stand upon a good foundation. 

From that base you are ready to engage the surprises that await you. Like bats coming for your face out of the rafters. You ponder that. o

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