One day, the woman was walking by the river when she heard a loud growl. She turned around and saw a huge brown bear, up on his hind legs, growling fiercely at her. She started to walk quickly, hoping the bear wouldn’t follow, but the bear began to run after her. The woman started running, but the bear was faster than she was.
Not knowing what else to do, the woman plunged into the river and began to swim away from the bear. The bear kept running along the riverbank, growling loudly, trying to catch up with her. The woman continued to swim with the current and finally the river took her far enough so the bear was left behind.
The woman felt relieved that she had escaped the dangerous bear but she didn’t feel safe enough yet to come out of the water. She relaxed for a moment and let herself drift in the water.
Soon, the woman realized that the river was flowing faster and faster. She looked at the riverbank and didn’t recognize where she was. As the river got rough and choppy, the woman needed to devote all of her strength to staying afloat and not drowning.
Luckily, just as the woman was starting to worry that she might not make it, a group of people in a boat saw her. One of them put out her hand and the woman took it and pulled herself into the boat. She was glad to be safe.
Some of the people in the boat scolded her. “Don’t you know that it isn’t safe to swim in this river?” they asked. “Maybe you should go take some swimming lessons,” one person suggested. “Since you can’t take care of yourself, maybe you shouldn’t be living by the river,” someone said. “I think you just need to wear a life jacket all the time. That will protect you,” another person said.
All of this made the woman extremely confused. She started blaming herself for going into the river. She also started thinking that maybe she should jump back in the river just to get away from these people.
But there was one person in the boat who had been quiet during all the discussion. Finally, she asked the woman two questions nobody else had thought to ask. The first question was: “What was the reason you went into the river?” The second question was: “What can I do to help you?”
The woman saw she had someone to help her. She decided to stay in the boat for a little while longer.
What bear have you had to escape? What river did you jump into? Have there been people who have tried to help but just made you feel worse? Who will help you get out of the river?