Contact Me

If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Heed the Warning!

Yesterday, while walking to my weekly meeting with my writer friend, Nancy, I almost ran into a small herd of elk. They were lying down, just off the edge of the sidewalk in downtown Estes Park. They raised their heads and gave me "the eye," a familiar look of wariness that elk give as a prelude to fight or flight. I gave the herd a wide berth and continued on my way.
Two hours later the same herd had wandered onto the lawns and banks of the river next to the Visitor's Center where I'd parked.
 Again, I gave them lots of space as I passed.
But several tourists got very close for a good shot of an elk. Just outside the Visitor Center, a little girl of perhaps seven or eight had approached a cow elk within inches of its face. Before I could shout a warning to her, the cow jumped toward her and stamped its front hooves. Deer and elk do this to warn and intimidate a predator. If the warning doesn't work, they attack.

The little girl's grandmother, who had missed this entire incident because she was looking at the river, came up from the river bank and said in a casual tone, "C'mon, Susie. Leave the elk alone."
Susie now seemed to realize that she had annoyed a five hundred pound animal. She passed several other elk, while looking nervous. The grandmother said, "Just walk by them and ignore them. They won't hurt you."
The girl and her grandmother headed toward the ramp where I stood. A four foot metal fence separated them from the elk who stood just on the other side. "Okay," Grandmother instructed the girl, "now you can get close. They can't come over this fence."
The little girl again approached another five hundred pound elk, obviously feeling safe because of her wise grandmother's words.
At this point I couldn't hold back any more. I said, "Please be careful, little girl. An elk can come right over that fence if you scare it."
The grandmother didn't even look at me. She was getting her camera ready to take another picture. "Oh, they won't come over here," she said in a distracted tone as she focused her camera.
I had half a mind to run over, grab the little girl and pull her to safety. But at that minute, the girl moved away and joined her grandmother.
Oh, how I wanted to lecture that foolish grandmother!
Her lack of vigilance, and ignorance of the ways of big, wild animals  could have resulted in the granddaughter's injury.
Oblivious to danger.

The danger was so obvious to me.
But no matter how I warned this woman or her granddaughter, they ignored me. Obviously, Grandmother thought she knew better.
Grandmother didn't recognize her own desperate state of "lack."

There are so many analogies I could make from this frustrating experience.
How often have you tried to warn someone about danger and been ignored? It could be physical danger, psychological danger, spiritual danger.
You've been around, seen how things are. Maybe you've even been hurt yourself. How you wish you could make the foolish one hear you.
You do what you can do to warn about the dangers of "elk."
But after that, it's up to them to heed or ignore the warning.
One would hope that a tourist would read up on the many wonderful things to be encountered on the vacation. Best to know that elk, no matter how docile they look, can be dangerous. That grizzlies roam Glacier National Park. That the Mohave rattlesnake slithers just outside your Southwest motel so don't let the kiddos play in the pretty plants just outside your room.
One would also pray that people on a life journey would consult the ultimate travel guide, the Bible, for instructions.

"God's word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You'll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.
There's more: God's Word warns us of danger
and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?" (Psalm 19:10,11 The Message bible)


  1. This is so good, Dena. And, of course, the failure to heed God's warnings goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Thousands of years ago, yet we've learned little from that lesson.

  2. I think, for the most part, people don't believe what they see; they see what they believe! That's why it's so hard to convince a person against his will.

  3. Oh, Dena, what a picture of the Christian trying to warn a lost and dying world that they're in mortal danger. They don't understand.

    How do we get their attention? Mere words will never remove the blinders from their eyes. Prayer is critical to the process. Sharing what God has done for us, and allowing the Lord to bring forth His character in our lives will help them take notice.

  4. Susan, as always your wise words hit right to the core.