Now don't go thinkin' that I've converted to a W. Va. rattlesnake wrestling religion! I'm talking about our church's sound system snake, the tube that carries all the wires that connect the keyboards, drums, guitars, and mics to the sound board! It is/was located under the floor of the church between the floor and the downstairs ceiling and it pops up through the floor right at the sound booth and right beside the keyboard.
Well, our church is re-locating, so we had to take the literal miles and miles of wires and wind them into neat little bundles. We had to unhook an amp, 2 monitors, 2 speakers, 3 monitor control boxes, two keyboards, 3 microphones and two other pieces of equipment that I have no idea what they do--and all that was only on one side of the snake. The other end had it's fair share of plugs as well, one for every channel on our quite extensive sound board. They were even more fun! We had to take each head and unscrew 3 screws that are a little bigger than an eye glass screw. Then we had to pop the head off the connecter to expose 3 wires that were sottered on. Being very careful not to burn the wires, we had de-sotter each one. Once the wires were disconnected we had to reinsert the head in the plug and screw everything back together. I know, that sounds tedious! IT WAS!!!! ( And by the way, all those screws will need to be unscrewed again, and all those connections re-sottered by Sunday! Any volunteers???
After several hours of de-sottering, which included inflicting about half a dozen 3rd degree burns to my hands and legs, and one third degree burn to my helper--sorry Brian--we managed to get it ready to be removed from under the floor. But first we had to take the strip off the floor that smooths over the joint between where the linoleum stops and the carpet starts. Then we had to pull the carpet back off the floor about a foot to uncover the hole where the snake disappeared into the floor to begin it's long journey to the other end of the building (or the center of the earth, whichever came first), where it once again popped up under that same carpet, which we also had to pull out from the wall and off the floor. (We only tore it once! Shhhhhhh!)
As we began, it became abundantly clear that that snake liked his home and really wasn't interested in picking up stakes and moving somewhere else. He was encased in a nice rubber type pipe, so trying to slide rubber against rubber was not an easy proposition. We started out with two people--one on each end and soon gave up on that. Then we added another to hold the carpet back so that we could get a better angle on the snakes hole. That didn't work either. Everytime we pushed the snake into his hole, the hole wanted to go along with the snake. So I had to reach down there with pliers and pull it back up through the floor and then hold it into position flush with the floor, using my bare hands, while someone else pushed the snake into it. That all went along fine until the rubber from the snake added a few 2nd degree burns to my fingers as I held the hole in place, and a few cracked and bleeding knuckles as they got splinters from the floor and cuts from wire mesh surrounding the snake at certain points. But I was so determined that get that sucker out of there, I would just take a deep breath and tell the poor traumatized teenager to go ahead and push and ignore my screams! (sorry Scott!--you did great!). Hey, I had 4 children! So I figured this couldn't be worse than that, right?
Meanwhile on the other end, my burned friend was pulling with all his might! Now, I've always thought that snakes were slippery looking, and they are, but this snake acutally WAS slippery. It had been greased with silicon 10 years before. Unfortunately for us, the rest of the movers had loaded up most everything in the church so we had no supplies to find something to help get a grip on the other end of the snake. We opted to use a pair of curtains we found laying outside an office that may have been intended for the new building, but we figured that it is easier to get forgiveness than to ask for permission. But even with the curtains (sorry Linda), it still didn't work. So we added another person's muscles pulling on the other end, but it still didn't work. Finally we added a third and we were able to pull that snake all the way through!
It seemed ridiculous that a few wires tucked into a rubber tube could cause so much trouble, but they did. And I thought, we would have never gotten this out, just the two of us. What was nice was that when we needed help, all we had to do was call and someone came running to come along beside us and help push or pull, whatever was needed at the time.
For me, it was spiritual lesson as well. We need each other!! Every now and then we have to battle a big, slippery snake of our own. On our own, we can push and pull with all our might, but it just doesn't budge. But when we include our brothers and sisters in Christ in our problems, or our weaknesses, or our injuries (ouch, it still hurts!), things change. It doesn't seem so hopeless because there are more ideas and usually some comfort, and when my friends are involved, some comic relief to help the project seem not quite so impossible. They are there to encourage, to help, to care (thanks again Scott--you really were great!), and when it's all over, to REJOICE over the victory! The Bible says that there is wisdom in many counselors. So I have decided that when I'm stuck, I'm going to go to my friends and tell them what's up. I'm going to trust in their prayers and not worry that they will think badly of me. They won't because I hang with the Godly who live by the 1 Cor. 13 principle and love me in spite of my quirks and personality flaws. When they see a quirk or flaw, they pray for me and I appreciate that!
You see, I know nothing about sound equipment AT ALL! (I'm only in charge because I'm the Pastor's wife and when you have no one to do something, that's her job! It falls under the category of "helping" your husband, I think!!???) I know how to push the 3 little buttons that turn it all on and off and that's it! Through the years, I have had to learn, but I still don't understand it! When there's a problem I pray and then pick a knob, any knob and turn it to see if it helps or not! And when I became a Christian, I knew nothing about God or living for Christ. And through the years I have had to learn, but the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know much about that either! On the one end, it's very basic and elementary, "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." But on the other end of that is a very, very, very BIG GOD who just keeps getting bigger the more I know about Him. So when I am stuck, for whatever reason--my flesh, my ignorance of the Word, or perhaps I am battling a big slippery snake--I know that I can count on my brothers and sisters in Christ and that they will willingly come to my aid, give me good advice and stay with me until the snake is laying in a heap at my feet. How blessed I am to have the best band of "peeps" (thanks little Naomi) as my family in Christ. I love you ALL!