The Bear, the Crane, and the Waiter

crane 2

Over the past summer I decided to enlarge a very small pond into a larger fish pond with a waterfall – big enough to have some Koi call it home. The construction was an experience in itself utilizing a rented backhoe and miraculously doing minimal damage. Altho’ I have to confess to inadvertently taking out a corner of the septic field and guillotining a young tree I planted when I hit the wrong lever and flipped the bucket forward with such force that it killed the plant instantly. Moral of the story; mistakes are part of creativity and even faith in action involves risk.

Eventually the pond was completed and the Koi have been swimming around quite happily for the past three months, growing bigger every day. However now I have to keep an eye open for a large crane that has been swooping down to check them out from time to time. I designed the pond to be nearly four feet in depth and with straight sides to offer protection from predators, but nevertheless there remains a lurking danger.

crane 1

koi 1


Not far from the pond the apple trees I planted five years ago blossomed in the spring and were heavy with apples this year. I filled a few buckets to give away to ladies who make pies and was waiting to harvest the rest ‘when I felt like it’. One Saturday in the dark of night intruders entered the fenced garden and the next morning we had a surprise awaiting. The garbage can was on it’s side, the recycling bin was empty with teeth marks on the lid, and the apple trees were naked. Nothing left except a broken branch, trampled undergrowth, and one solitary apple clinging to a ravaged tree.

I’ve never seen bears around here before. But seems the smell of ripe unharvested apples attracted their attention and they had a feast.

apple tree 2


If only I hadn’t procrastinated and waited. There’s the ‘what if’ again.


This ‘waiting’ can get us into trouble. There are people who make a career of ‘waiting’. We call them waiters. They serve and wait on tables, responding to the requests and needs of the guests whom they serve. There’s a clue I can grab onto like a hungry bear devouring an apple.

Waiting may only be tedious if I focus on one issue. Yes, I’m waiting for a visa to be processed, and if I fixate on that I may miss the opportunity to tackle other things that have been ‘waiting’ for my attention. I learned during another long journey in my life to pay attention to what is at hand day by day. Don’t just wait for ‘the one thing’. Like a waiter in a restaurant watch and listen to all that is around you and take the opportunity to serve people or things that have been neglected or overlooked by busyness.

There are always bears and cranes around waiting to take an opportunity to steal, devour, and destroy what is overlooked or unattended around me. Peter, the disciple of Jesus, knew all about underestimating the battle he was in. There was a time when he was complacent and over-confident and ended up being ravaged and left feeling like one of my apple trees. He wrote in one of his letters to the early Christian church….“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up….. “(1 Peter 5:8  The Message)

Instead of waiting being a curse I can receive it as a blessing, an opportunity to serve and even catch up on other things that I’ve overlooked or neglected. It gives me time to observe and notice what may be vulnerable and in danger of being lost in my life and those around me. To see if there’s anything that may attract the bears and the cranes and to take action to foil their destructive agendas.

Someone sent me a note this morning that quotes Danny Silk:“Patience isn’t about how long a person can wait. It is how well they behave while they wait.”

I receive that wisdom.

Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

(Isaiah 48:31)

Time to resurrect a song I wrote some years ago 🙂 The photographs are from a retreat centre in Northern Uganda where I explored for a few hours during a brief visit.

A worse scenario is this: Never building ponds or planting apple trees. How boring and empty life would be playing it safe or being intimidated……

John Cox

Christian Author

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