There was a traveler going on a journey, climbing a steep hill. It took him several hours to reach the summit; once there, he found a small snake, who slithered up to him. "Hello fellow traveler," the snake greeted with a smile. "I've just slithered up this hill and am far too tired to make it to the other side. Would you please carry me down? I'd be eternally grateful." The traveler, feeling this fair, offered his hand for the snake to slither onto to be carried. Once they reached the bottom of the hill, the snake slithered off the traveler's hand. Turning, he then bit the traveler on the ankle and dashed off into the tall grass. "How could you do that? Why did you bite me when I helped you," the traveler demanded. The snake's slim head poked out of the grass. "You knew the risks when you picked me up, friend. You knew I was a snake. Still, you chose to help me. The risk was yours," he replied before slithering off, flicking his tail as his poison moved through the traveler's system.
I first read this poorly paraphrased fable in a Bible. It teaches the lesson of thinking through your actions, of being careful who you offer help to. It's a lesson I feel my parents and I need to learn. We've helped people, out of the goodness of our hearts and because it's the decent thing to do. I'm sick and tired of getting bitten by the people we help, getting pulled into problems we shouldn't be involved with. Too many people seem so focused on themselves, not realizing that the world doesn't revolve around the spot where they stand, not realizing that we're trying to live our own lives around them. They don't know or don't care if we go out of our way to help - provided we're still helping. Then, we might as well blend into the woodwork for all the good we do in trying to help others from an outsider's perspective. Friends burn us or don't realize that what they do does come back to us and it's all completely stupid. What ever happened to paying it forward? Or laying in the bed you've made? Why is it everybody's looking for a handout these days? Work to better yourself by yourself!