trust and prepare

Posted: January 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

One of my favorite features of our house is the pantry in the basement.  The coal chute in the wall tells me what the original purpose of the room was, but now it’s marvelous little space filled with deep shelves.  While people on HGTV seem to care about cosmetic things when they are house shopping, I know cosmetic is an easy fix; not much can make me yell at my TV more than some person with half a million dollars to spend who doesn’t want a house because the color of the living room is wrong!  Practical purpose matters, and for sure I knew I wanted good storage space.  When we toured the house the pantry was was a disaster zone, stuffed full of garbage and overgrown with dust and cobwebs. Still, it called to me more than almost any other feature of the house.

These days find me planning and working to get those shelves stocked.  The last time I worked so pointedly on such a project was 1999, when the news kept me concerned about what was going to happen as the new year rolled in – Y2K.  I was a single mom with 2 little kids at home, but I knew what to do.  I had 3 gardens that summer; I harvested and canned and froze like our lives might depend on it.  By the end of the summer, my basement pantry was stuffed full and piled high with hundreds of jars in rows, the extra shelves outside the pantry were loaded down with canned goods from the store, the potato bin was full from end to end (something like 50 pounds of ’em), and the great big deep freeze was filled to the capacity.  For the first and only time in my life, I even stockpiled drinkable water – a month’s worth, as near as I could figure.  Most of this year-long project was fun, but for sure it was tinged with bouts of fear.  I spoke of it to no one but God; since I come from farm folks, laying in supplies didn’t look unusual to my kids.  I debated about asking my dad for one of his many guns that last week in December, just in case our country dissolved into chaos.  In the end, I let that option go without ever speaking it aloud, though I mentally kicked myself for not at least having a big, scary looking dog.

Of course Y2K came and went and was nothing at all, much to my relief.  The fall of 2000 brought cancer, and one source of comfort for me through that scary passage was how well the pantry was still stocked, thanks to my Y2K preparations.  No matter what came next, my kids wouldn’t starve.  The cancer is whole other story, but to suffice it to say:  God was very good and more than enough.  I ended up believing that He had used my fear of Y2K to bless me through a time of difficulty that I’d had no way of anticipating was ahead.  I never did feel sheepish or silly about the rations in our basement.

Now I’m on another stock-the-pantry journey, this time triggered by the (surprising to me) results of the most recent election and the daily shock-and-awe campaign that plays out on the national news.  I don’t have the advantage of 3 gardens at this point, and our small, shady yard won’t provide that even when the seasons change, so it’s more a matter of strategic shopping and spending.  I’m laying in supplies to be ready in the event that everything goes sideways, which looks more likely every day.  I want us to be prepared so that we can be a help if that happens.  I’d rather be one of the people helping than one of the people crying  with their hand out because they never thought such a thing could happen.  It doesn’t feel safe to me to live week-by-week right now.  I think we need to be ready to get through some sustained passage of the system being down.  Disagree if you like; as for me, I’m doing what I can, and I’m mentally kicking myself for not seeing this further ahead – I’d like to be more ready now than I am yet.

Some would allege that this means I don’t trust God.  Isn’t He good?  Doesn’t that mean everything is going to be okay?  Wouldn’t I do better to just stop looking at the news and frightening myself?  For sure I have been a person who would make that argument.

I do trust God, and I know for sure that praying is the first and most important thing I must be doing right now.  Still, I’m a student of history (thanks, Dad!) and a persistent watcher of things happening in places that aren’t the traditionally safe cradle that the USA has been to date.  I can’t help but notice that no matter how good God is, people are people, and across all of time that has meant some things that aren’t pretty or comfortable.  There’s that business of free will – it’s a plan God sticks to stubbornly, no matter how hard we push to end our own existence or how awful we are to one another.

I can’t control what all the people in the world decide to do, though at this point I’m doing the things I can figure out to do to influence the deciders.

I can’t fix the national conversation, though I can do my part in not making it worse with my own words.

What I can do is trust God and also prepare for what I think I see coming.  One does not negate the other.  God gave me brains and a backbone for a reason, not just so I could stick my fingers in my ears, scrunch my eyes shut, and refuse to deal with the reality around me.  I don’t for one moment think God is frowning at my “lack of faith” in stacking the pantry full.

Navigate these times as you will; this is my strategy.  Trust and prepare.



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