Last week I had a big “Oops!” moment.
Our long, balmy fall was deceptive. It was a lingering Indian summer with no end in sight, and the flies weren’t even trying to get inside!
Although we had a general forecast of snow last Thursday, I was caught off guard, thinking it would be mostly rain and a lighter storm. WRONG – we got 8+ inches of heavy snow in less than 36 hours with plunging temperatures down into the single digits! Result: Terrible road conditions, over 200 slide-offs and crashes. Plus I was stuck inside from Wednesday until Saturday afternoon, eating food from my freezer and pantry, not wanting to risk injury to myself, others, or my paid-for car. Now we have news of the horrendous amounts of snow near the Great Lakes (over 6′ in two days in many places) with a total ban on travel.
So what was the problem? I had blithely put off my regular grocery shopping so I was caught without my usual supply of fresh produce and dairy. Even though eating from my well-stocked freezer and pantry was a far cry from starvation, I still felt foolish and deprived. I could easily have gone out on Wednesday and enjoyed fresh broccoli, salad, pears, and yogurt instead of freeze-dried green beans, dehydrated apples, and cocoa from powdered milk (ugh).
The stress I felt was much more symbolic than real, and I sensed a deeper principle at work. How ready am I for the bigger storms of life? I thought about a friend who’d endured a power failure for two weeks one winter while her husband was in school and she had three little children at home. Their fireplace and food storage really helped, but boredom, close quarters, and stress took their toll.
Their emergency came without warning. But many do provide a window to prepare. Are we heeding the examples of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy that were so devastating? We are warned that the Ebola virus may come here and we might well need to self-quarantine. Any disruption in our food distribution system would clear grocery store shelves within days. We could experience weeks or months of “hyperinflation” that would send prices skyrocketing. So if we’re warned, we have less excuse for not preparing. While we can’t foresee every emergency nor will there always be a warning, we can do a lot to soften the impact of those that do come. Believe me, I was saying all this to myself and more.
If you want more information on preparing for emergencies, check out these sites and ideas:
- LDS Provident Living
- Take a checkbook to Costco or WINCO and stock up – and don’t forget water.
- If you’re more ambitious, learn to can and dehydrate your favorite foods.
Finally, the skies cleared, the sun came out and I dared venture out on the melting ice and snow. I cautiously toodled off to Fred Meyer and stocked up, so grateful for the abundance of nature and our clean, spacious stores. Driving home a favorite hymn came on the radio that totally mirrored my mood and renewed my faith:
This Is My Father’s World
(YouTube/user/The Hymns of Praise)
My final takeaway: Tackle the tendency to worry and act from fear. God provides peace and guidance:
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy1:7)
The more I think about being prepared, the more I realized that acquiring the habit of prayer and then heeding the subtle answers that come is perhaps the very best item in our spiritual backpack.