Wise Guy Son and I were driving a remote highway in rural New Brunswick (Canada) last month, and we kept seeing “deer crossing” signs – and “moose crossing”.
Deer grazing on the green slopes near the road are cute. Bounding across the road a safe distance in front of you, they’re still cute.
Deer crossing the asphalt right in front of your vehicle are not.
Apparently wise New Brunswick drivers avoid country driving after dark, at least certain times of year. We saw chain-link fences paralleling sections of the highway where the moose and deer were most active.
As it got closer to dusk (prime feeding time for deer) and I kept seeing the signs, I watched even closer for any sign of off-road movement. Sometimes the highway was elevated enough that a grazing deer would be out of sight until it decided to climb up and cross the road.
Vigilance is important, but I found myself getting tense. Each yellow warning sign felt more menacing than the last.
A person could really start to fear these creatures! Instead of gentle, liquid-gazed deer faces, my imagination caricaturized them as grim-faced, wild-eyed creatures surging up the slopes in a suicidal guerrilla raid to stop the traffic.
A good laugh restored my perspective and got me thinking about danger and about sin, how as important as it is to be vigilant, we need to be careful not to blow what we’re watching for out of proportion. That’s where unhealthy fear comes from.
Deer on the highway: something to see and avoid. Menacing, mutant killer-deer that stalk our nightmares: something fear can use to paralyse us if we let it.
To paraphrase the words of Jr. Asparagus from VeggieTales: We don’t need to fear what’s out there, because God is the biggest.
I’m learning that if I can turn something potentially fearful into something absurdly funny, I won’t freeze up. And there have been times lately that I’ve reminded myself “God is the biggest!”
Prayer and humour are good tools. What works for you?
[I first posted this at InScribe Writers Online, earlier this month. Sorry if it’s a repeat for you!]