I put what I thought was a good shot on a big buck a few weeks ago. I was shooting my muzzleloader and had measured the yardage where the deer would be appearing. Sure enough, they showed up along with this nice buck in the middle of a large, harvested, soybean field. After the shot, the deer jumped straight up illustrating to me I had pulled off an almost perfect shot… I thought. My friend and I high fived each other while still trying to stay in the moment. That’s how sure I was. And then, for what we later calculated to be about five seconds, we both looked away. When we looked back up, the buck was gone. At first, we thought he must have fallen just on the other side of a small patch of beans that had been left behind. We were still confident and waited patiently for a few minutes to pass. I eased out and circled around the patch, glassing with my binoculars. I saw nothing. A few minutes later, my friend came out and we walked to the exact place only to find nothing. It was as if the buck and all the other deer had disappeared. We knew we had to hurry if we were to locate any blood or other markings. There was a snow coming and it would quickly cover up any signs that were there. The problem was, we had no idea which direction they went. After about an hour or so of looking, the snow began falling, covering any hopes for a recovery. We had not given up, but we had run out of opportunities. We wanted more chances, but they were taken away. Our confidence that we could keep looking and would eventually find this deer, was left with no place to prove our faith. This one hurt.

           There are a lot of analogies I think about when I remember this event. The two that are in the front have to do with time. One has to do with growing older and running out of time. This one reminds us of the all the promises we made towards health and wealth. This one doesn’t take us by surprise. We see the snowy forecast, but we keep procrastinating until there is an imposed and unalterable deadline. The other parallel reminds me of those whose time runs out without warning. I think of premature deaths and predicted deadlines. I think of those who put off the most important decisions until the decision is not theirs to make. I hope you will not look down too long before making those life-changing, and even eternity-making decisions. You may think you’re only looking down for a few seconds, but those seconds may be the difference between success and wondering where it all went. 

Gary Miller