Facing the Unknown

Facing the Unknown

Some years back, two of my sons and a friend were camping in Missouri. One night, they heard a rustling in the brush. The noise grew louder, closer. And then it stopped. The next night around dusk, they heard it again. What was it? You can imagine the campfire talk: “It could be a wild pig. Feral hogs will eat anything. They’ve been known to attack humans.” “What if it’s Big Foot? Did you hear about the guy who was just sitting on his porch and a Sasquatch walked right into his yard?”

I’m guessing the unknown creature got bigger and scarier with each telling. And then one evening they decided they’d had enough. It was time to face this thing. Armed with flashlights and hunting knives, they set out. The plan was that two of them would drive it toward my son Aaron. And when he saw it, he would . . . well, I’m not sure their plan went that far! Aaron stood waiting and the others spooked the creature until it started running toward Aaron. Louder and louder, nearer and nearer, it crashed through the brush until finally my son stood only feet in front of a charging . . . armadillo.

armadillo-178344_1920Aaron stepped out of the way and the thing kept running, completely ignoring him.

All that fear. All those “what ifs.” How many of the things you’ve worried about in this past year have turned out to be armadillos? Our imaginations run wild and we create Sasquatches in our minds.

Yesterday morning we went to church with Aaron and his family. The pastor spoke about a message of reassurance King George VI gave to his people at Christmas in 1939.  “A new year is at hand,” he said. “We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle, we shall remain undaunted.” He went on to quote from Minnie Haskins’ poem “The Gate of the Year” (1908) :

I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’
And he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way.’

Don’t you love those words? We can arm ourselves with flashlights and hunting knives, but we will never be as safe as when we walk with God. I know for myself, if I start each day by surrendering my unknowns and putting my hand in God’s, I’m far less likely to imagine Sasquatches hiding in the dark unknown!

May the problems you face this week be nothing more than armadillos.

Becky Melby About Becky Melby

Wisconsin resident Becky Melby is the author of the Lost Sanctuary Series and a dozen other contemporary fiction titles. Married for 43 years, mother of four, grandmother to fifteen, Becky thrives on writing, reading, camping, rides on the back of a silver Gold Wing, and time with family. Connect with her at her website or Facebook.


  1. Bettilu Davies says:

    Becky, that was really good. I appreciated the idea of defeating our worries by holding God’s hand. (I have to admit, though, if I saw an armadillo, I’d be pretty nervous, since I’m not too familiar with them and what they might do. Evidently, they’re harmless.) I enjoyed meeting you recently at WI-SE. You are a major part of my good memories of the day.

    • It was fun getting to talk to you and your hubby, Bettilu. And I agree, if an armadillo was charging in my direction, I don’t think I’d be too calm. But from what I’ve read, they pretty much ignore humans. Stay tuned to comments here–I posed a question about that to a Texas friend.

  2. May the problems I face be nothing more than armadillos … amen to that! 🙂

    • I’m naming you my armadillo expert because you live in Texas, Shelli. 😉 Bettilu said she’d be nervous confronting an armadillo and I have to admit I haven’t had any up-close experience. Google tells me there have only been a couple of incidents reported where an armadillo has attacked a human. Any personal Texas-sized stories to share?

  3. Enjoyed your post, Becky. The unknown can be very scary, but I am so glad we can have the One we know on our side.

  4. Tina Dorward says:

    Great reminder Becky that often our worries are so much grander in our heads then in reality. Thank you for that reminder.

  5. Laurie Driesen says:

    Thanks for your post Becky — what a great reminder to not let unknown fears take over. I needed that today…. worried about unknown things in the future. Thanks again!

  6. I’ve never heard that quote, Becky but boy do I love that image!

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