Archive for April, 2013

Bear Cabin

It was the summer of 1998.

Our church had blessed Reb and I by sending our family on a long needed sabbatical.

In a remote cabin in the Tahoe National Forest we delighted in spending uninterrupted time with our children. The days were filled with long walks, playing games, eating together and each night ended with Reb reading aloud to us in front of the fire.

It was heaven.

One weekend however, Reb and my oldest daughter Anna had to leave to attend a conference in L.A.  We would miss them, but we would be fine.

Or so I thought.

The night they left things went smoothly enough; dinner, games, story time, bed.

But just before I was ready to turn in I heard something outside. The kitchen door had a small window in it and I drew the curtains back to take a look. I could see nothing. Curious.

The moon was full and the back porch light was on, so why could I see nothing out this little window? It was completely dark.

Then the dark moved.

The dark, I realized to my horror, was been a bear leaning up against the door, and as it moved I could see several other bears in the back yard eating bags of lunch meat, cheese, eggs, and the rest of the groceries I had bought that day and put in the refrigerator on the back porch.

Let me explain… this 1950’s cabin had a tiny kitchen and a fridge not much bigger than an ice chest.  We had rented the refrigerator for the month and placed it on the porch just outside the kitchen back door… seemed like a good idea at the time.

Who knew?

The bear returned to the door and began leaning on it again. It gave slightly.

Frantic, I called 911. We were miles from the nearest town and I tried to describe where our cabin was.

“Could you send someone out?  I am here with four children…there is a bear pushing on the door and it is about to give way!”

“I need to ask you a few questions first”, came the emotionless reply.  “Did you leave food outside?”

How was I going to explain that I had an entire refrigerator of food outside?

I decided to just keep it simple…”yes.”

“Well,” began the lecture, “you know these bears were here first.  We are visitors on their land…if any harm comes to them as a result of your actions, you will be entirely responsible.”

I was stunned.

“Let me repeat myself, my four children and I are in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and several bears are banging at our door…can you PLEASE send someone out!”

“Ma’am, bears very rarely break into cabins,” he responded.

I was in disbelief.  “And if they do?”

Are you ready? Here it comes.

“Just make loud high pitched noises….”

(I did not think that was going to be a problem)….

“that usually scares them away.”

“Usually”… he said…” usually”… seriously. Then he hung up.

Kid you not.

The banging of the door had woken my 13-year-old son Benjamin.

“What’s the matter mom?  What was that noise?”

“Oh, don’t worry; just some raccoons outside.”

“Mom, you don’t call 911 for raccoons.”.

He was on to me.

“Ben, there are bears outside, several of them. They are quiet now, but a few minutes ago they were pushing on the door.”

He looked outside and confirmed that they were still there.

“We need to pray, son.”

So we did.

I asked God to protect us; to surround us with angels.  To let the little ones stay asleep, to make the bears leave, to bring help.

Ben thanked God for His love and entrusted us all into His hands…then he headed back to his bed, he looked back at me and asked, “Are you going to bed, Mom?

‘No, I’m just going to stay up and be sure everything is all right.”

Are you ready? Here it comes.

“Well… I prayed, so I’m going to sleep”

Just like that.

All night I sat up listening for the bears to begin pushing on the doors again. I tried to imagine what I would do if they got in.  I wondered if the sheriff would actually come out, and if it would be too late.

But Benjamin slept.

As the sun rose, a sheriff car pulled up to the cabin. The bears, of course, were long gone, but the evidence of the midnight “frat party” was everywhere.

The kids woke, none the worse for the night.  Ben was well rested, and I was still numb from the whole experience. As we sat down to breakfast I pulled a Bible verse from the scripture box we read from each morning.

Are you ready? Here it comes.

“Blessed be the Lord our God who daily BEARS (emphasis mine) our burdens”

Ben laughed out loud and then took the kids out for a walk.

“Lord,” I prayed, “ daily BEARS our burdens? Really? “

I thought I heard a laugh, …do angels laugh?

I don’t know.  I do know that the Lord was present and that He had it all under control.

And I know that I want to be able to have the confidence of Benjamin…and to rest in it.


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