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Life is Like a Bear Hunt (and We're Gonna Catch a Big One)

Sometimes life is like a bear hunt.

Particularly the bear hunt immortalized in the children's action story/song. For those of you unfamiliar with the song, here is the first verse: 

We're goin' on a bear hunt,
We're gonna catch a big one,
I'm not scared!
What a beautiful day!
Oh look! It's some long, wavy grass!
Can't go over it,
Can't go under it,
Can't go around it,
Gotta go through it!

The rest of the song follows the same formula - we've got a mission, we have high hopes, we're excited and not scared, we encounter an obstacle that cannot be avoided...we overcome, and then we repeat.

Such is life.

The past week has been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster for me (and, from what I gather via social media, thousands of other people in the world, each for their own reasons, though sometimes events and tragedies unite us in grief).

This morning I articulated some massive life-fears to a friend, and our conversation went like this:
"I think it's good that it terrifies you, I think it means that you're taking it seriously."

"I am," I replied, "I just don't want to get bogged down. But I have to go through the fears instead of around them...like going on a bear hunt."

"I feel so proud of you for being willing to do that."

"It's the only option! Well, I guess running away is an option, but I'm anti-that."

Running away - that's what happens in the song. We find ourselves in a dark, quiet cave...and touch something wet. And then something furry. And IT'S A BEAR! And then we run out of the cave, scramble down the mountain, through the snowstorm, through the mud, across the river, through the long, wavy grass, and back into our home. Where we lock the door and breathe a sigh of relief.

looking out from a dark (bear!?) cliff cave
It's tempting. But it's no way to live. As much as it terrifies me, as much as it makes me realize the inevitability of battle scars and losses and coming face to face with giant wild animals (this could be a metaphor for so. many. things.), I refuse, I absolutely refuse, to let fear rule my life. I cannot give in to a desire for safety at the expense of adventure (risk/living). As much as I crave security from harm, it really means the death of my heart.

So let's re-write the (metaphorical) song. Let's go on a bear hunt. Let's plan to catch a big one. And when it turns out to be a far scarier experience than we anticipate, let's remember that it is okay to be afraid.

But let's not run away.

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