‘Deer’ Me- Stay On Course!


Several years ago I was on my way home from work when the unexpected happened. I was on a relaxed drive, listening to some great county music when out of the corner of my left eye I caught a glimpse of something moving. She was in front of me before I could stop. Have you ever hit a deer? I never have before then. I tried to swerve but the poor thing bounced off the front end of my car before I could react. I must have been traveling at around 40-50 mph and the deer was gone into the bushes before I could see how she fared. The car didn’t fare very well. Fortunately, the repairs were paid for by the insurance company. After the accident I recalled a very popular bumper sticker that many have on their cars. It reads, “I brake for animals!” While I understand the sanctity of animal life, I have never agreed with the message of this popular sticker. Perhaps it is because I am an insurance agent and have dealt with automobile claims for over thirty years. I have seen people swerve to miss an animal and run themselves off the road into trees, jeopardizing the life and limbs of themselves and passengers. Or slam on the brakes to avoid an animal causing a multiple car accident resulting in death and destruction to those involved. It is a natural reaction to avoid an animal, but sometimes the greater peril lies in its avoidance.

In the travels of life we oft-times are presented with sudden obstacles. Sometimes they come out of nowhere. Like a deer they run into our paths and are threatening. It is tempting to go off the charted path to avoid them. However, most times we are better off staying on the “straight and narrow” path by traveling on the charted course. Yes, sometimes we can temporarily avoid problems, only to find ourselves in deadly battle with the approaching immovable forests of life. Joseph Wirthlin once said:

“The ideal course of life is not always easy. Comparatively few will find it and complete it. It is not a well-marked freeway, but a narrow path with only one entrance. The way to eternal life is straight and narrow. When I think of staying on the right path, I am reminded of Lehi’s dream about the tree of life. In it, the love of God was likened to a tree that bore delicious fruit, fruit that was desirable above all others. As Nephi recorded his father’s words: “And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree. … And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree.” (1 Ne. 8:20–21.) Many of these people later “fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.” (1 Ne. 8:28.) But those who ignored the scoffing and ridicule of the world and held tightly to the rod of iron enjoyed the fruit of the tree. The rod of iron represents the word of God that leads us to the love of God. (See 1 Ne. 11:25.) You must hold firmly to the rod of iron through the mists and darknesses, the hardships and trials of life. If you relax your grip and slip from the path, the iron rod might become lost in the darkness for a time until you repent and regain your grasp of it”. (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Running Your Marathon,” Ensign, Nov 1989, 73).

We must keep faith in the path that has been charted for us by our Heavenly Father. It leads to eternal life! We need to hold a firm grip onto the wheel of life.  Surely during the course of life a deer will leap out at us. Making the decision to hold a steady course, no matter what, will help us when ‘deer me’ events cross our paths.


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