Look for Beauty, NOT BEARS

I’m lying wrapped in a snug mummy bag. Cold sweat is dripping down my body, making me shiver and shake. I try not to move.  I can’t tell if the wind is rustling the trees outside of the tent or if it is something bigger.  SOMETHING MUCH BIGGER. Something that could weigh over 700 pounds. Something that could throw me around like a toy. That something is a Grizzly bear. Grizzly bears are one of my greatest fears.  

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It wasn’t always like that for me. My family had always spent lots of time camping, backpacking, and hiking and I had never really thought about bears.  

Things changed for me after my older brother bought a book about bears. That book soon became known as the “The Bear Book” at our house.  It’s full of true-life, worst-case scenario, bear mauling stories.  These are all cases where people thought they were safe and prepared, but they weren’t. There is no way they could have prepared for what happened to them. Everyone I know who has read the book has gained great respect, or rather, great fear, of bears.    

One night I found “The Bear Book” in my brother’s room. I sat down and read it.  After I read it, I didn’t want to sleep in a tent ever again! I didn’t want to become a bear’s favorite burrito. I wanted to sleep in a trailer or a cabin or somewhere safe. 

We all have different fears, phobias, and things that keep us up at night. For some, this pandemic is bringing a lot of fear. We might be afraid of getting the virus or of family members getting the virus.  Maybe we are afraid of what the future will bring or how it might change our lives. 

But guess what? Fear is a liar! Fear wants to cover your eyes to all the beauty surrounding you. It wants to take control of how you act, how you feel, and what you see. No matter what your fear is, you can still have hope for what’s to come and notice the good things happening in your life every day. 

Because of my fear of bears, I knew that a part of me would be missing without adventuring outside. So guess who was right back out hiking through bear country? THIS GIRL. I choose to do what makes me have happiness. I choose to see the beauty and opportunities that are ahead of me.

Though I always sleep in the middle of the tent, hike in the middle of the group, and still worry about running into a Grizzly, it doesn’t stop me from going out and exploring the beautiful wild world we live in. I don’t want to miss the joy I feel on a quiet trail or a mountain peak, overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s beautiful creations.  

At this time of uncertainty, don’t let fear steal the precious opportunities and everyday joy that life gives you! Thank God for every moment and every blessing.   

And remember, don’t feed the bears.  

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