• Regina Stump

Dashing through the snow... and Caroling to the trees...

Some choose to go caroling in the snow, from door to door, using their voice to celebrate and bring joy to others. It is a beautiful thing when I hear carolers, for it takes an aspect of courage to use one’s voice to sing a melody; a tune that many know, and one that typically requires an aspect of pitch/harmony! I am grateful and celebrate you, Carolers!

I myself had an experience of caroling…in the backcountry woodland on some beautifully serene trails. I was on a run, just soaking up the warm rays of sunshine, while my feet lightly struck a path of pine needles and some patches of snow underneath shady evergreens. My serenity was interrupted when I noticed two hikers ahead, off to the side of the trail, wave me down. I slowed to a halt. They alerted me to an observation; they believed that they had spotted a bobcat – or lynx – in the direction I was running. They claimed that it had bounded into the thicker forest growth, out of sight. Had it been a cougar that they claimed to have seen, I would have high tailed it back the other way, no question about it! But, I only had about ¼ mile on this trail, before it merged with another trail heading in another direction. I considered the possibility of running into the bobcat, and the nature of bobcats being skiddish, I decided to proceed with my ¼ mile in the direction of the alleged bobcat. To increase my chances avoiding contact, I began to sing-shout. I will call it, aggressive caroling. I ran happily along, sing- shout caroling (with a deep pitch, to inform any wild animal of my large and formidable presence) ! I actually began laughing…If ANYONE out there were to have seen me, running along and caroling loudly with absolutely no semblance of pitch or tune, I am sure that they would have had quite a laugh! And a great story to tell all their friends…” hey, you’ll NEVER believe this, I saw a crazy trail runner singing in the woods….”

After learning about the bobcat, I had a choice to make. To turn around, afraid of what may have been ahead. To continue forward, making a calculated judgment call. The bobcat may not have even been a bobcat. The Hikers may have not identified the small animal correctly. If it were indeed a bobcat, attacks from these elusive cats are incredibly rare. My choice to move forward was reinforced by my action of singling boldly. I charged forward, with the potential of a reason to “fear”. In life, we face similar situations. There may be fears – or the imagined presence of the fear- that threatens to govern our choices. Instead of charging ahead under thoughtful calculation, we submit to a fear; sometimes based upon perception, comparison, or anxiety to what others may think. We readily yield to something that may or may not be valid, instead of stepping back, identifying reality, identifying the truths of a situation, identifying what the implications are for our own lives and our influence to those around us. I encourage you, as fear permeates our society, to “carol” boldly; in respect to the situation. I

f you choose to “carol” ahead with courage and confidence; I applaud you! If you “carol” in strong resolution in the name of justified caution; I applaud you!! In both situations, acknowledge, recognize, and evaluate the reality of the “fear”. What does it mean for you – and is your response one that is a natural extension of your identity? No matter which direction you move, which direction you “carol”; let it be a direction that you can take ownership of. Be confident in your Caroling. As you Carol, you might be Caroling alone; you might be Caroling with others who have taken a similar route too. Regardless; take ownership. Look at the scene; and stay true to YOU. You are too meaningful to choose a path that another force, or another voice, to have caused you to submit to.

Carol loudly and proudly, whichever direction you go – in resolve to MOVE. Moving in Caution, or Moving with Progression…You ABOLISH fear. Fear only wins if you don’t move.

In Confidence,


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