We spotted cubs. Shortly after this we could only think of one thing, getting to them. They were so cute, cuddly, had to be soft, and surely they were like puppies or something right? But 11 yr olds don't think about that stuff. We wanted close but cuddling never entered our mind. The closer the better and if we could, we wanted a touch. Why? Just to say we did. Imagine the celebration as we returned to Graysville Elementary and told Matt, Brian, Kenny and especially Carla. What would Carla think of me then? It was planned, not really planned as much as a "Hey Chris look, cubs!" - "Cool, let's go touch him!" - "OK!"
Un-calculated risks are rarely good ideas. But again, we were 11ish. How often does sound reason and wisdom exist at that age? Of course I was in the front, I was dumb and Brian was scared, or smart. But I was quicker, just in case. The closer I got the more I began to think through the celebration dance. I was leaning more to the Iggy Shuffle. Then I heard a voice, it was Brian. "There's the momma!" His voice seemed far away but there in the middle of rustling leaves and the sounds of a flowing stream I hear it again....."The Momma!" What an odd thing to call your mother. Why couldn't he just say there's my mom? And why would she care? I'd let her hold it too. You'd have to know me back then as well, think Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer we were. I'll let you decide who was Huck. Then it hit me....oh, the cubs momma.
"RETREAT! RETREAT!" We bolted...had there been a track coach close by I would have been offered a scholarship at 11ish. Brian was smarter than most, he was already in the back of the Dodge truck, in the camper top waiting. How long had he been there? Was I that deaf to not hear him retreat earlier. And now I'm wondering, at what point did he see momma? How long did he withhold this information? Well, there I was, 100 yards out. I was a bit cocky, I knew I was fast. No need to look back to see how close she was but I'd choose to think about other more important things...like at what time I would do my Ozzie Smith back flip. After all, I needed to celebrate something since the cub touching was obviously out now (enter sad emoticon face we didn't have back then.)
About 10 yards out I begin my Pete Rose dive into the truck. Immediately hitting the truck bed and into the back of the truck, the Dodge truck. There is nothing but silence........and then laughter, I mean belly laughs begin. Celebration, relief, and fear all wrapped up into one small, exhaust filled, hot camper cover Dodge truck. We had plenty of time to celebrate due to the fact that "the momma" wasn't leaving for a while.
What a memory! What a stupid, stupid risk. We didn't have the heart to tell any of our parents until we had moved out. But where were his parents. Lesson #1 - never leave 11ish yr old boys unattended in the Smokey Mountains where bear cubs may be present. Lesson #2 - don't take stupid risks.
*Disclaimer - 95% of this story is true
Last night at the Rock we looked at Right Risks. Is there a time where risk is right? It's a good question to consider and as we look at what it looks like to NOT waste your life, risk is involved.
I've attached the sermon and questions but the end point is this. It's never wrong to risk for the cause of Christ. We risk every day. Some stupid risks and some right risks and also some daily risk. Faith is key, trust cannot be optional. Wisdom plays a huge part but we can no longer run from issues or what we've been called to do by God. It's time to obey God rather than man. I'm not saying to go chase a bear cub the next time you go to Cades Cove but I am saying be willing to take those right risks for the sake of the Gospel.
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