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We had just arrived back to our vacation townhome in Lake Lure around 9:00 p.m.. After a summer trip to see The Biltmore House in  Asheville, the Waze app decided to direct our family back a different way than the way we came.  I had gripped the steering wheel of my van for 21 miles through kiss-your-elbow curves while braking on the steep declines.  Twice, two different cars passed me on a double yellow line because they didn’t like my slow, yet brave, driving through the mountains at dusk then at dark.  The mustang raced past me when the road straightened for half a mile.  I really didn’t care because I was responsible for keeping my family safe.  A few miles later, a truck passed me while honking its horn.  I was stunned with the truck driver’s road rage because I was feeling relief that I had just successfully navigated the curvy mountain roads.

As I turned onto our street in Lake Lure, my family noticed the trash can lids which were laying on the ground.  Apparently, an animal had opened the lids and strewn trash all around.  Suddenly, I spotted the bear.  I am not talking about a cute stuffed animal bear like the Snuggle bear or the bear who advertises for Charmin.  No.  This bear had drug a bag of garbage to a comfy spot on a driveway two houses down from ours.  She was as big as me, an adult.  She sat on her bum and continuously engaged in gulp after gulp of delicious leftovers which she retrieved from a trash bag.  I was stunned to see this bear no more than 20 feet from my van.  My family decided to keep driving past the bear, arrive in a cul-de-sac, sit and watch the bear for a minute then turn around and leave our street.  There was no doubt.  She was hungry, black and big.

I turned left out of the street and headed north to the next street.  I pulled into a driveway and sat.  I guess that I knew it was possible to see a bear, after all, we were surrounded by woods, but in reality, I was stunned and bewildered as to what to do next.  How would we be able to get into the house without the bear seeing us?  The trash cans are installed deep into the ground so that the lids are only possible to open as they are close to the ground.  The idea is to keep the bears from going through the trash.  This bear, however, had figured out how to pull the bag from the garbage can and get her fill.  I say it was a her because I was told from a housekeeping manager the next day that there was a female bear who was pregnant and due any day in the area.  This person also told me that since it was hot and the bear was pregnant, the Prego bear was more likely to be aggressive and that we should watch out.  

I will tell you that we finally drove back to our house and pulled into our driveway.  The bear crossed the street and went into the woods behind my van.  We all looked back, couldn’t see any more signs of her and bolted out of the van into the house.  We slammed the door and heaved a sigh of relief.  My heart pounded so I took deep breaths.  We had been brave to get into our house.  Soon, the TV was on.  Disney Channel was on showing, believe it or not, the fight scene from “Brave” involving huge bears.  Seriously, of all the movies that could have been on, and of all the scenes that could have played, we saw the Bears fighting and a human getting attacked.  It was time for bed so I turned off the TV.

My heart felt a lot of things that day:

Elation when my kids asked if we could go to Biltmore

Excitement to drive to my favorite mountain destination

Joy to see the mountains through the lens of the back porch of Biltmore

Peace as I walked with my family through the gardens

Happiness as my kids flew through the air in the swings and on the see saw in the serene playground area with the backdrop being mountains 

Amazement that we were seated at a table we have been able to sit at two other times before at Cedric’s Tavern

Thrilled to have found a “Be-YOU-tiful” plaque for a gift for one of my kids and a positive message plaque with phrases beginning with each letter of the alphabet for the other child at a gift shop

Warm as I tasted the Shepherd’s Pie which brought back a memory of eating the same meal two years ago on a cool evening with my family

Then, as we drove away from Biltmore, the app took us a way that was unfamiliar.  It also led me to unfamiliar emotions which contrasted greatly with our visit to Biltmore.

The next emotions that I felt involved concern for our safety, stress over the twists and turns on the narrow two lane mountain roads, irritation over the road ragers who made sure they sped up or honked as they illegally passed me on the double yellow line, relief once we finally made it back home, then shock over the bear.

I had a hard time falling asleep that night.  This ride home had been no joke.  I do not recall Ever having to drive through constant curvy roads before for 21 miles in the mountains and I Never have been greeted by a bear, well, not until that night.  It was a truly eye opening experience of what it means to live in the mountains.

I realized that I needed to be thankful that God had given me the ability to drive and to think though the bear experience allowing us to get inside and to safety.  I do not know why that day seemed to have such a wide variety of emotions.  I decided to process the hard emotions through a thankful heart and through reflecting on wisdom from the Bible.  

2 Timothy 1:7 King James Version (KJV)

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

He has given me a spirit of power, of love and a sound mind according to His Word.  He has not given me a spirit of fear or timidity.  I appreciate the power He gave me to persevere as a driver on unfamiliar roads in dusk then dark conditions.  I am grateful for the love that I have for my family and for their safety.  I also know that God gave me a sound mind when He soothed my heart from reading His Word.

A sound mind even in the unfamiliar.   

The writer of the old hymn, “Oh, I Want To See Him” had probably encountered bouts of uncertain or unfamiliar conditions, but had been given power, love and a sound mind too.  The song writer penned these words:  “Many arrows pierced my soul from without and from within, but my Lord leads me on.  Through Him I must win.”  I turnd out the lights, laid down and felt safe.  God had brought me through and led me through some tough times and emotions.  

Thank you, Jesus, for giving me power, love and a sound mind.

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