Preparedness Is...

You know, as I sit down to write my 500th article about preparedness, I stop and look at the recent entries and realize that it’s been a LONG time since I got back to the beginning, to the core of the most basic foundation of self-reliance. So I’ve decided to do just that today—reveal what I believe is preparedness at its core.

To me preparedness is not about storing lots of food, ammo, or creating a 72 hour kit. Those are simply activities that in which someone might be engaged as a result of their convictions of preparedness.

Some might be surprised to hear that my idea of preparedness doesn’t even acknowledge the word “emergency.” Instead, I look at preparedness as a state of independence and effort to be independent of providing for myself, my family, and those others I love in the event we’re in the path of one of Life’s Curveballs.

As we watched the television news broadcasts flash pictures of the wretched devastation that the tsunami in the Indian Ocean caused in foreign lands, I’m certain that many of us felt deeply for the loss of the families which remained.  But ultimately, most of us had the luxury of carrying on with our regular routine without an interruption.  I believe this is part of the reason why those who live by the term “emergency preparedness” are mostly unsuccessful in getting their message across. Most of us relate to emergencies as what happens to other people. But when we find ourselves watching the months and then the years go by without finding gainful employment after unexpectedly being ousted from a job of 20 years, the feelings of despair color our lives in a very real sense; yet would anyone call this scenario an “emergency?”  As the victims of corporate tom-foolery, the unemployed person may find himself numbingly working his way through the third garage sale in a month, ridding himself of all that he’s held dear just to keep a roof over his family's head and food on the table, does anyone label this mournful moment an “emergency?” And yet, these are the very type of real-life circumstances for which I believe we should all try to be prepared. Independence is the key—not preparing for some disconnected state of “emergency.”

Independence—being able to rely on one’s own resources rather than grovel at the mercy and circumstances of others. Crowding in all around us is a litany of vulnerabilities.  In response, many of us seem to keep our heads down and simply hope that the world isn’t too awful to us; as if hoping makes it so; as if The World is a respecter of persons and has it’s own will as to who to pick on and who to let be.

Perhaps it’s a mental or emotional coping system that causes us to hope that honor will direct the actions of the persons who are responsible for stabilizing our nation’s currency. After all, we don’t have the time or education to make sure they do their jobs, right? Likewise, do we not somewhat blindly rely on our employers to wisely spend, invest, and direct the company for which we work so that we can meet our own financial obligations? We trust that justice will be served in the court systems. We complacently expect the value of our home to keep pace with the rising prices so that we can relocate if need be. We would rarely think to second-guess the emergency room doctor’s care—it’s just got to be accurate. We are at the mercy of the faithful preparations our nation’s military has undergone that we might be protected from enemies, foreign and domestic.  We expect privacy and security in our homes and the lives of our family. We expect that when we call 9-1-1 knowledgeable help will arrive in time. We trust the prescription we have been given is accurate and not harmful to our body. And we trust that the food we purchase from the store is of reasonable quality at a reasonable cost.  And yet in all of these instances are we not truly vulnerable?

Heart disease and cancer are no longer the most common killers of this nation; medical malpractice is.

How many have become homeless through no financial dereliction of their own—instead becoming punching bags for greed-filled corporate executives or a justice system that fell asleep at the wheel?

There have been several landmark rulings in the U.S. just in the past two years in which law enforcement officers were found not-guilty of any wrongdoing when they simply sat back and played the role of a spectator as a violent crime was committed.

We’ve seen firsthand that the sun doesn’t always shine like we need it, and the heavens don’t always open as we need them in order for abundant and healthy crops to grow.

How many of us have had our financial security compromised because someone in authority paid little or no regard to the sanctity of our privacy and safety?

Have we not seen that even the most rehearsed and seasoned of aid-workers are no match for the wrath of Mother Nature or a determined enemy of our nation?

It’s nearly impossible to find a person who doesn’t at least know of another person who lost a substantial amount of their retirement savings due to the derelict actions of those “in charge.”

Ask any parent who’s witnessed their child suffer inexplicably as the result of an “approved vaccination” or an errant prescription whether they will remain silent and apathetic with the advice of medical officials again?

Even our nation’s military is not beyond reproach; periodically manifesting that despite best efforts, some will fail to uphold their honor and remain true to their responsibility.

While it may seem daunting to even begin to think of how one can protect him or  herself from all of these vulnerabilities, experience has taught me that there is much that an individual can do to ensure they always have a “Plan B.”  While I believe that each of these instances might give cause for fear and concern in some, I have to say that to me they are teaching moments. They teach me where I may be too complacent, or too naïve in my expectations of organizations and even humans with the best of intentions. As such they indicate to me that there is room for my proactive self-reliant approach to help ensure that no guilt, regret, “shoulda, woulda, shoulda” clouds my life.  As such, it’s my intent to prepare for the worst as best that I can—now, in a time of relative comfort and peace—and pray for the best.

What lies around the corner that has the potential to threaten the solidarity of our family? Quite a bit, I believe. But I’m determined to  face it head on; analyze it and determine what my best counter-move might be.  The person who desires to deal the hand right back at fate as good as they got,  rather than just taking what comes,  is the person I believe is truly prepared.

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Excellent post. Every bit of it truth and common sense.

So true. Whether people realize it or not, we are living in the midst of the long emergency right now. The situation we see reminds me of two books: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It's a pity that reading a book doesn't automatically confer insight upon the reader.

Very well put. Too bad common sense isn't that common.

"But when we find ourselves watching the months and then the years go by without finding gainful employment... the feelings of despair color our lives in a very real sense; yet would anyone call this scenario an “emergency?” ... the unemployed person may find himself numbingly work his way through the third garage sale in a month, ridding himself of all that he’s held dear just to keep a roof over his family head and food on the table, does anyone label this mournful moment an “emergency?”"

Kellene, this describes me. No one seems to see the desperation that comes with this situation! My friends still ask me to come over ($ for gas)for playdates, they still expect my kids to get badges in their clubs ($, shipping), they remind me it's my turn to bring snack... they ask how things are, forgetting that we have had so little income for 13 months now and that "making it" takes up our time and energy. We're not on unemployment! We are selling things on Craigslist to pay bills... it's getting ugly. Some people can't imagine the fights that are hard to avoid when resources run out, and that between two people who love each other and are committed to the future!

Thank you for reminding people that it IS NOT just the hurricane that can send you scurrying for your preps... the mindset and supplies help every day.

Teresa, I'm not sure what to say. On one hand I want you to know that I truly do feel mournful for your situation. I keenly know your pain--which is the only reason why I was able to write about it. But I also know that YOU have the ability to see this through...there are many opportunities. Unfortunately, most of them require that we see our world around us through different eyes--hard to do when a world is colored so broadly with frustration and despair. But look past it. Believe in yourself and invest time and focus in what's truly important to you. The solutions will manifest themselves.

Great post.. I agree. all common sense...not enough of this in the world right now....

Teresa--You and your family are in a corner. Not one of your making, but cornered. It is really hard to remember, when you up to your butt in aligators, the idea was to just drain the swamp. What do you NEED: a House(shelter), Utilities, Car (transportation,gas,) Food (maybe you can get some assistance here. You need some sort of income: Can you start your own business (babysitting, cleaning houses or offices, courier service, teaching some sort of classes, God gave you talents and skills put them to use). I have been in this situation. It is incredibly hard to get your head out of this "Box" of continual stress, but you HAVE to. Try to see and count your blessings. Are you healthy? Is your family healthy? Sometimes when there is this much frustration and stress we strike out at the people we love the most. The best advice I can give is pray to God to put his arm around your shoulder and His hand over your mouth. Try to remember that people who have a job have absolutly no clue what you are going through. I know that doesn't help you much, but maybe it will keep you from knocking their block off. This will not last forever. Try to keep looking for and to the future. You and your family will be in my prayers. Let go and let God run the Universe. He has done a pretty good job so far. Trust God. Trust youself

The list of circumstances is agonizing to consider but so compelling to understand that "stuff happens". When it does it is a blessing to be as prepared as possible. As you have pointed out on many occassions, Kellene, sometimes the "stuff" is just someone dropping by for dinner and we have extra on hand to share and feel good about it. Sometimes the "stuff" is tragic in nature. Thank you for helping us keep perspective.

Teresa - the most important thing to remember is that the family is the most important thing. It is easy for tempers to flare when economic stress sets in. When I was going through a similar time one of the challenges that I had was to develop a more humble spirit, losing my pride, that I could say, sorry - funds are tight now and I can't. Friends will understand, those who don't will someday likely have their own challenge which will bring them to the point of understanding. Then it will be your opportunity to share what you can.

For those of us who have friends and acquaintances in circumstances similar to Teresa's, this is a mighty wake up call to look for ways to serve and share. More and more there are families who are at risk, who are hurting, and we can be the hands of the Savior who help.

Teresa, you are in my prayers. It is awesome what you are doing, staying off unemployeement and still making it. You have been doing this for over a year is very impressive.
It takes heat, fire and pressure to make diamonds and the strongest metals. You will make it. Stay with it girl and I am asking God for a little miricle to be sent your way.

Well written Kelleen, the only thing I would add is that even though we don't all have the same religious, political beliefs, economic back grounds. Having respect for others beliefs and sharing and helping each other makes this all the more important. That which brings us together, makes us all stronger as a whole. Thank you. Great work.

Teresa you are being tested. Many of us talk a good game and hope we won't be found wanting. Keep with it it will be nasty, tough but I hope you will come out of this fire stronger and better. Nothing is ever easy but know my mom are hoping/praying for the best for you.


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