- if you see a bear from more than 100 m (350 ft) you should back away slowly, talk calmly to the bear so he knows you are a human and be sure to have a tree in mind that you could climb in the last second, if necessary. (What do you do when you meet a bear?)
- you should never look a bear in the eyes
- you should always carry bear spray and a whistle
So, what do you do when you have broken all those rules?
In my last post I began the story of when I came face to face with a black bear this summer. If you missed it, check it our here. If you read it already, I will give you a little reminder of the story.
On returning to the camp after the beach I knew thereAt Southridge Bible Camp there is a dirt road leading up a slight hill, from the open area in front of the dining hall (where the kids were lined up) to the chapel in the trees. The road curves slightly at the top, which means from the main area you can not see the chapel or the remainder of the road.
was only an hour and a half until chapel time. The campers were gathering to play a wide game. Then after the game was supper and chapel. I needed to be focused on God and not on my stories. Tonight's chapel was the night that we presented the opportunity for the campers to accept Christ. I was already nervous but when I had a hard time focusing - I knew I was in trouble.
I notified the kitchen staff I would not be having supper. I plugged my ears with my iPod worship tunes, grabbed my stuff and headed for the chapel. I was begging God with everything in me to clear my heart and mind out and replace it with only Him.
My Camp Director had done her due diligence by giving me a whistle and telling me to carry it everywhere I went. And I had. Until the day I went to the beach, when I left it in the chapel. (Oops!)
So here I was, ears plugged and eyes closed, walking up the dirt hill begging God to be my 'all in all'. In hindsight, I never considered the bear due to the noise of the campers behind me. But, I made it three-quarters of the way up the hill before I opened my eyes. Then I froze.
Standing three feet in front of me was a black bear. He looked as shocked as I felt. We stood there staring each other in the eyes for what felt like a long time. (It may have only been a few seconds though). There was very little thoughts going through my head. However my first was ... 'where is my whistle? Oh yeah, it's in the Chapel - behind the bear.' Other than that, my mind was more concerned about the kids behind me. I thought if I screamed a kid might run up. Besides, I may not be able to reach out and pet his silky fear but if I startled the bear he would be on top of me with one pounce. So I opted for silence.
After what left like an endless wait, the bear shifted on his feet and turned tail to run. He bounded back up the road about another ten feet before turning back to check on me. I used that brief lapse in panic to bolt for the Chapel door. However I didn't go in. I stood there while the bear and I did another eye to eye evaluation of each other. Now my thoughts were flowing a little freer and I was concerned about where the bear would go from here. I could still hear the kids. They were being dismissed to the playing field. That basically means - in camp lingo - "scatter". Some will go to the bathrooms, some will go to their cabins for bug spray and others will wander aimlessly to the field. I had no idea if the road the bear was on would come out at the field. So I knew I had to tell someone he was here.
Did you know one can become very brave when they want to be? I bent down and collected the only stick within reach - which must have been at least 3 inches long. I flung it at the bear with my best "brutal arm" throw. It was enough to startle him. He spun in circles a couple of times. That was my open window. I ran like wildfire down the hill.
This is the point when I told my husband the story he cocked his head to one side and said: "you know you should never run from a bear, right."
Anyway, I made it to the bottom of the hill into the clearing and again froze in my tracks. Now there were people milling about everywhere - staff and campers. Who do I tell? I scanned my options briefly when I heard a cabin counselor call out my name. It was my husband's bible school buddy, Ken Fisher. He asked what was wrong. (He must have seen my all-out-hail-Mary run stop dead at the bottom of the hill.)
Now, all the staff knew about the bear threat at camp but we didn't want to frighten the campers with it. So I couldn't yell it out. Instead, I gave him my best bear ears above my head actions. It didn't take long for three men to be at my feet asking where it was. So, I followed the three brave men up the hill to the top where the bear ... wasn't. I guess the show was over and the bear had moved on.
So, did you know:
- if you are going to encounter a bear at close-up range it is best if you are held and protected in the palm of the Almighty Lord.
And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely in my hand. I stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. I am the one who says to Israel, 'You are my people!'" Isaiah 51:16
My entire week at camp was a test-imony to God's love and protection. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own limited eyesight I forget that God knows my tomorrows. He has a plan and even if the road is curvy and I can't see where He is leading me, doesn't mean I'm not in the palm of His hand.
If you are lost, confused, scared or feeling threatened and challenged - come to the Rock. Let Him be your 'all in all' and let Him be everything you need.
(This song is taken from the official you-tube page of the band Kutless. It is a song that I love and I even have a story that God has given me for it.)