Tuesday was a spectacular day, high on blue sky and sunshine, low on humidity. A perfect ten! I was taking advantage of such great weather to repaint the steps to both my front and back porch. By 11:30 am, the front set of steps was finished and already drying. I moved onto the rear porch steps and began to scrape them. As I scraped the loose paint off, I noticed a car driving by that had stopped near the top of my drive and a little boy stepped out. He must have been about nine or ten. He took out a phone or camera and began taking a picture or sets of pictures of the little woods on the other side of my driveway. It seemed rather strange to me and I kept my eye on the car as I continued my scraping. The car did leave and another car quickly stopped in their place. A woman leaned out the window and began screaming at me. “Get inside!!! There’s a really large bear!!!” She repeated her strong warning again as her words sunk into my brain. I quickly jumped up, ran inside and looked out the window. The biggest bear that I have ever seen was ambling down my driveway just a few feet from where I had just been. He strolled down my driveway and into my back yard where he shuffled around a bit more before heading downhill towards another street.
As I processed the situation, several questions popped into my head. What was the lady in the first car thinking! Why did she allow her young child to get out of the car when there was an obviously large bear close by?! Did she think it was a cute little puppy coming towards her and her son? And the next thought, why did she fail to warn me? I do think she saw me because I looked up to see what was going on several times. Did she think that I would just figure it out as the huge bear got closer? After those puzzling questions, it struck me about how kind the Lord is. “THANK YOU LORD for the second lady!!” Thank you Lord for people who care enough about their fellow man to warn them of impending danger. The bear was not looking to eat me, but who knows what he might have done had I reacted unwisely in my own fright.
I can only guess at the first woman’s motives. Maybe she was too busy in her life to think about the consequences of her actions. Maybe she was just ignorant of bear behavior. Sometimes people are so involved in their own lives that they can’t see the needs of others. Self involvement creates a total lack of compassion for what others may be feeling or needing. Am I so self involved that I can’t see the need of another human being? Would I stand by while my neighbor gets attacked by a bear, either actually or metaphorically? Would I be the one to leave the Samaritan lying injured by the side of the road?
There are plenty of Scriptures that tell us that we are in fact our brothers’ keeper. We don’t have to be overbearing about it, but there are many ways to warn, advise, counsel or discuss with our brothers and sisters without acting like we’re somehow superior. Sometimes, when a threat is immediate, it calls for an immediate and clear trumpet blast. Watch out! There’s a cliff! Don’t go down that road! Don’t respond to those scammers! I can’t let you drive when you’re drunk. Give me the keys. I’ll take you home. Whatever it may be. Of course, other times require a soft approach. How can I help you? And even sometimes, just silent prayer. What we can’t do is just ignore people’s needs. I am certainly grateful for the woman who observed the situation, took a moment out of her busy day to stop her car and shout her warning.
If you see something, say something. It’s a good reminder in so many circumstances, both natural and spiritual.