Monday, April 29, 2013

A Can of Bear Spray

I bought a can of bear spray on the weekend.  It’s something I really didn’t want to do, because I don’t like carrying bear spray.  I think it gives people a false sense of security.  I would rather be proactive, careful to avoid bears as I hike, making lots of noise so the bear knows I am coming and moves off the trail.  Why buy the spray?  Sandra and I are volunteers in the National Parks for a few weeks in the summer and they like us to carry bear spray.

I have hiked my whole life and only had face to face chats with a few bears, some black some grizzly.  We have had short but nice conversations, the bears and I both moving away from each other.  The bears usually move away very quickly because they like us even less than we like them.  I’ve had these brief conversations with bears when I have not being doing what I should do when hiking.  What I should do, and almost always do, is talk, sing, make noise, all of which alert bears to my presence and gives them lots of time to get off the trail.  Being proactive is a lot safer than being reactive.  It is far better to let bears know you are coming and get out of your way, rather than have to react to an encounter because you surprised them.  Much of life is similar.  We can choose to be proactive and avoid problems and trouble, or let the problems come and then react to them.  As we go through life we can be aware of things around us, think of possible problems and plan to minimize their possibility of happening, or we can just blindly walk through life and react to whatever happens.  Proactive people tend to get more done, have far fewer problems and generally enjoy life.  Bear spray?  A reactive solution that can cause you problems, or death, because you should have worked harder at not meeting the bear in the first place.

There is an even more important proactive step each of us needs to take.  One day all of us will die and will meet our Creator and Judge.  The only way to make sure that encounter is a nice conversation is to be ready to meet God.  We do that by asking Jesus to forgive our sins and be our Saviour.  That gives us forgiveness of our disobedience to God, puts us in relationship with Him and provides entrance into heaven.  For bears there is a reactive solution called bear spray which sometimes is effective.  There is no reactive solution to getting into heaven.  You have to make that decision before you enter eternity. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


When I began walking unassisted again last month, after three months of wheelchairs and crutches, I new I would have to get my muscles back in shape so I’ve been walking a few kilometres each day.  The surprise, as I wrote last time, was that my balance had been affected.  I could stand on my left foot, raise my right and put on my sock or shoe, but I could not do the same if I tried to stand on my right foot.  The fine muscle movements for balancing were not there and I wobbled and toppled and had to reach out and hang on to something.  I could not balance on my right foot. 

Walking a few kilometres each day has been easy but it didn’t seem to be helping my ability to balance on my right foot.  I saw a tiny bit of progress, but not much.  I could balance on my right foot for a couple of seconds, but no more.  Frustrating when I can balance on my left foot for as long as I want.  This morning I lifted my left foot, balanced on my right, and everything was okay.  I put on my sock and continued to stand on one foot.  My balance, which had been pretty well non-existent yesterday, was almost normal today.  I did pray about it yesterday, probably the first and only time I have prayed about my balance, but could that have been all that was needed?  I don’t like to claim a divine touch if that’s not what it was, but on the other hand I don’t want to say the Lord didn’t do it.  I think He did.  I am happy.  But the whole thing led me to think about balance in all aspects of our lives.  It is so hard to find balance.  We have family and work and the Lord and leisure time and hobbies and church and ...   How do we find balance, so we’re giving attention to all the important things in life?  I think the key is the same one I finally resorted to when I couldn’t balance on my right foot.  We need to pray.  We need to ask the Lord to order the things in our life, give us balance, show us what really is important.  We need to ask Him to teach us how to push aside the things that are inconsequential so we can concentrate on the things which are important.  And having Jesus at the centre of my life and the centre of all I do is the most important thing of all.

I am very happy to be able to balance on my right foot again.  It may seem like a small thing, but when you hike and climb up mountains and ski and do all sorts of outdoor activities, it really is important.  Even more important is getting our life in balance, and asking the Lord to help is the way to do it.