Thursday, August 18, 2011

Eaten By A Bear

Eaten By A Bear
by Missy Tippens

Okay, I know that's a really strange title. But I wanted to share a funny story--which is so typical of my life and my family of origin. :)

My oldest, who's a senior in college and is an Earth and Ocean Sciences major, will be taking a class this fall called Dinosaurs, Fossil Fish and Yellowstone. Part of the course includes a week-long field trip to Yellowstone National Park right before school starts. I've been thinking how cool that is! We're excited for him to have that opportunity. I've been envious because I've never been there.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my mother about the trip. And she gets this serious tone and asks if they're camping out or staying in motels. I told her I'm pretty sure they're camping at least part of the time. And she launches into this warning, that I have to tell him to be careful of bears because they've just had a man mauled and killed by a grizzly bear at Yellowstone. And there have been a couple other attacks.

And I'm standing there holding the phone, sighing, my stomach tying into knots. The story of my life. I'll be doing fine, excited about something. And then my parents or my sister start worrying. And they get me riled up, worrying until I'm almost sick. I'm a natural worrier (wonder where I get it from!), so it really doesn't help when they're reminding me of all that can go wrong! :)

My son will be leaving in a few days. So here I sit, worrying about whether his group might happen upon bear cubs. Worrying about him being out in that tent. Worrying...worrying...

I love my parents and my sister! I appreciate that they care about me and my children. But I have to fight my inherited tendency to worry and try to cling to my faith. I fight fear with prayer. I try to undo the pretzel my stomach has become by turning my son over to God's care.

     Psalm 34:4
I sought the LORD, and he answered me; 
                               he delivered me from all my fears.

So please tell me I'm not the only one. :) Do any of you allow others to influence your worry level?


  1. Missy, your son will be in a group with others who are very experienced campers so I'm sure he'll be fine :) We have a wild park close to us called Algonquin Park and it has wolves, bears, etc. and besides pesky raccoons I don't hear any bad stories. If you're still worried google camping, buy a survivors guide and put your mind at ease. Knowledge is power :) Here are a couple tips though: No food in the tent, food must be undetectable for example coolers up in trees because that's what the animals look for :) And yes I don't think you're alone on the worrying thing :)

  2. Hi Missy:

    I’m not sure you can allow or disallow others from affecting your worry level. Is worry a choice? Can you set your worry level like a thermostat?

    I think the best we can hope for is having a worry level that is proportionate to the actual risks. To that degree worry has survival value but beyond that degree, it does not.

    WARNING: Whatever you do: don’t Google ‘bears kill child’! Just don’t do it!


  3. Eva Maria, I'm emailing him right now about not putting food in the tent!! :) And yes, you're right. The professor who's going is very experienced. I'm sure he's done this trip for many years.

  4. Vince, LOLOL!!! Oh, goodness, I'll try to refrain from that google search. Of course, I'm laughing too hard to see the screen right now anyway. :)

    I do think you can set your worry level somewhat. But I think maybe only when the worry is over into the irrational zone--which is where mine sometimes goes. If you're a normal worrier, then it probably is an inborn safety feature. More like intuition, which I do rely on. My worry meter just gets way out of balance when it involves my kids, though! With them, I go into worst-case-scenario-itis. :)

  5. Missy, I'm remembering your Seekerville post and think you just shared a lot of yourself today :)

    And another thought about your son - hope you find this funny - as long as he's not the slowest runner in the group he'll be just fine :)

  6. LOL, Eva Maria! I'll be sure to tell him that, too. :)

    And you're right. I thought I could try to share more. Especially when it's a struggle. :)

  7. Missy, it's hard for moms not to worry. And besides, with us being writers, I think that makes us worry even more... afterall, we're always thinking of the worst things that can happen so we can write a story about overcoming it.... er, that's my opinion, anyway. I agree with Eva, knowledge is power.

    Refrain from Googling what Vince said! LOL! Vince, were you egging Missy on??