The Tail of the Snake

I was in the middle of the first part of a three-step prayer yesterday evening when my whinny little four-year suddenly bursted into my room and demanded he needed a fresh pair socks at that very moment so he could put on his shoes to go back outside. It jolted me out my prayer and I snapped at him.
I had good reasons for snapping at him. He was not going to dirty up another pair of socks this late in the day, especially after having just taken off another pair of socks an hour earlier. He was only going to be outside for five minutes any way before he would be called back in to stay for the evening. He was whinning. He interrupted my special moment in prayer, a prayer of forgiveness and a special request for help for something deficient in myself that I did not like, a something that I had recently became aware of and was finally accepting about myself.
None of these were good reasons to snap at my son. Where was my compassion? A simple and calm “no” would have been the better response. It is true that he would have continued to whine about it, but snapping at him didn’t stop him either. It just forced him to cry to his mom about not getting his way.
I know that all parents have these kinds of moments when they respond in an angerly manner to their child. It is part of living in a family. Learning not to snap at interruptions is part of life.
But I was supposed to be in a moment of prayer. I was trying to be open to God. Anger should not have been my response. I should have also been open to another person. I was being selfish, especially about my prayer time. And my reaction to my son’s interruption drove the point home more than words could.
Mission accomplished, prayer interrupted. It didn’t matter that the tail of the snake was seen as he left the picture. His work was done for the moment. It is not God’s consolation if the tail of the snake can be found in either the beginning, middle, or end.