This is not our first experience with a bear on our property. At Murwood, we were lucky enough to have one visit our deck. And we have seen evidence of bears in our "neighborhood" last spring and this. But somehow, actually seeing it on your lawn really heightens the awareness and ramps up the fear factor. I am always looking and listening to the woods. I feel nervous to let the kids outside.
This fear of living, basically, makes me angry. We shouldn't have to feel trapped inside. And I think we are much happier when we aren't aware of the dangers lurking around us. I grew up in very small Alaskan communities and we lived in the outdoors. We played in the woods all year round. As a teen and college aged student, I hiked and/or camped with a friend or two most the days I wasn't working. I don't ever remember giving a thought to bears at all. We certainly never had a gun or bear spray with us. Maybe this was unwise, but we were happy, had a great time, enjoyed God's great outdoors, and never had any incidents.
Over the last decade, I have often thought about fear. And how it seems to have increased over time and/or with age. Does this have to do with having kids? I honestly do not know the answer to this. But it bothers me that I am now afraid of things that I didn't used to be afraid of. Such as swimming in the ocean. I have always had an irrational fear of sharks, but that didn't stop me from spending time in the Pacific in Hawaii and California while in high school and college. Now I would rather keep my feet firmly in the sand with just the surf washing over them. Or how about skydiving. It has always been a dream of mine. I have not yet accomplished this goal. But now when I think of it I experience a twinge of fear, rather than the "I'm invincible" excitement I used to feel. These are just a couple of examples.
I am not a worrier. I generally don't worry about my kids and their safety and lots of things that others feel I should worry about. I am not saying I am right or wrong in this either. But, for some reason, now that I have grown up and seen bears up close with my own eyes and read accounts of bear attacks, I must now constantly fight a fear of "what if?"
David knew about fear too. God uses his words in Psalm 91 to remind me to trust in Him and he will protect me. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.(1) You will not fear the terror of the night. (5) "Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name." (14)
I must also trust Him to protect my children.