A young member of the tribe was making his “journey into manhood” an initiation rite that was common in tribal societies. As he traveled through the forest he came upon an ancient rattlesnake. There was enough life in the snake that it was still able to speak and it called upon the young man to “take me to the top of the mountain. I hope to see the sunset one last time before I die.” The Cherokee highly respected the rattlesnake, and the tribes were careful never to offend the chief of the rattlesnake tribe. The young brave responded with caution…”if I pick you up, you will bite me and it will be me who will die.” The rattlesnake answered, “No, I promise I will not bite you. Just take me up to the top of the mountain as I no longer have the strength to travel there myself. I must see the sun set one final time.” The young man relented, carefully picked up the serpent, holding it to his chest, he carried it to the top of the mountain. Together they watched the sun set. Afterward the rattlesnake turned to the young man and said, “Take me home. I am very tired, and very old.” Again, the young Cherokee cradles the snake against his chest and carries it down the mountain. As he began to lay the snake on the ground, suddenly the snake struck, sinking its fangs into the boy’s chest. The boy cried out in shock and pain, staggering backwards he cried “Mr. Rattlesnake, what have you done? What of your promise not to bite?’ The old snake replied…”you knew what I was when you first picked me up.”
That lesson can be applied to many aspects of life No matter how much we have deceived ourselves, (driving drunk, texting while driving, alcoholism, drug abuse, eating choices, toxic relationships, debt) a serpent is indeed a serpent. . What do we pick up that we later wish we hadn’t, even though we were consciously aware of the potential outcome ?