(Continued from Part 1)
When my husband and I married, we both already had well-stocked homes in terms of tangible things. So when we received cash or checks as wedding gifts, we chose to use that money to create a fully stocked pantry including long-term food items such as whole grains, honey, olive oil, etc. The problem was though that I wasn’t exactly familiar with how to use those kinds of items. Somehow it just didn’t right to purchase items only to stash them away in the corner of the basement and forget about them. So, I decided to start learning how to use what I had on hand. Doing this actually led me to see holes in my supplies and enabled me to start asking myself “what if” kinds of questions. In spite of the gross poverty I witnessed in the Philippines, whenever a good meal was served, it was always a celebratory occasion and one worthy of singing and laughing sharing. As a result, I found that my missionary experience influenced a lot of my “what if” kinds of questions. For example, “This homemade bread is delicious but what if I had to make it without electricity like I experienced so often in the Philippines?” Consequently, I’d find a solution, use it, and then come up with another slew of “what if” kinds of questions. Living this way led to me discovering many other areas of essential living that required the same kind of “What if” questions followed by the solutions. The goal my husband and I had set for ourselves was that any time we found a vulnerability in our everyday living, we’d find a way to counter that scenario and replace a vulnerability with peace. This thought process is what led me to learn that “emergency preparedness” was just the tip of the iceberg and that if I actually focused on realistic solutions for the everyday challenges that come our way, I’d inevitably be ready for the more serious crises.
It was during this period that my husband and I came up with the Ten Principles of Preparedness. Each time we came up with another vulnerability in our life, we would essentially de-construct the scenario and follow the ripple effects of that scenario backwards so that we could be sure that we addressed the initial trigger of the sequence.
When the Teton Dam broke, there were all kinds of small things that could have been taken seriously that would have prevented the entire collapse, but engineers and work crews only saw those warnings as insignificant distractions. Our idea was to focus on what some may see as “insignificant distractions” in an effort to eliminate the catastrophic crises.
The Ten Principles of Preparedness was born in a specific order of prioritization as follows:
- Spiritual 6. Fuel
- Mental 7. Water
- Physical 8. Food
- Medical 9. Financial
- Clothing/Shelter 10. Communication
I’m convinced that you won’t find any holes in this list nor will you find the need to re-prioritize them. They follow the natural flow of our everyday living as well as the moments that zip by in a crisis. You’ll also find them to be closely connected to each other, like the cogs and wheels inside a clock.
The nice thing about making this discovery was that I no longer had to worry about spending too much time or resources in an area that had lesser prominence than another. It also gave me a good snap-shot anytime I checked the list as to what we may be more vulnerable. Lastly though, discovering this list helped us graduate to an even more advanced way of living.
With our eyes more open to our life as different aspects of it falls into one or more of the 10 Principles of Preparedness, we began to have a greater level of awareness as to many of the threats in our society which would compromise any one of those 10 Principles. I’ll never forget the day that Scott and I had come to realize that the threats of disruption that we were bombarded with actually came at us in the SAME order of prioritization as the Ten Principles. For example, if we looked at snapshot of headlines in the news or the incidences of history which would threaten the stability of any one of these Principles of Preparedness, we noticed that there was a direct correlation to the amount or intensity of threats and the level of prioritization of each principle. For example, Spiritual Preparedness, that of a person’s core values, beliefs, and standards of morality, is the biggest target of opposition, and there are very few threats which don’t have an impact on this particular Principle in one way or another.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to look at challenges in life as a part of a big strategic game. If the opposition prioritizes a particular area of my defense, then there has to be a reason for it, a rationale that makes this particular area important to “them.” If that’s the case, then shouldn’t I be just as concerned with protecting that particular area? Ironically, not only were we able to verify the prioritization of the Principles based on how they applied to everyday life, but we were also able to confirm the prioritization of those Principles based upon the intensity of the attacks against them. Furthermore, recognizing this level and organization of attack led us to our most recent advancement in our understanding—a self-sufficient lifestyle.
As long as there are people upon the earth there will always be the errors of men who act in fierce opposition to a self-sufficient lifestyle and subsequently each of the Principles of Preparedness. As such, this means that we’ll never be finished with our preparedness efforts. We’ll never be able to completely check something off of the list because it’s a natural state of progression to take care of one’s own needs and stand self-sufficient in providing for our every need. And the natural progression along that path is to begin to share that stability with others who might come to need a bit of assistance too. It’s as natural as wanting to throw a couple coins in the kettles at Christmas or instinctively putting your arm up in front of the passenger as you go to make a sudden brake in the car. But because of this natural tendency, we’ll never get to check off a particular item or skill that we need because new scenarios will always be cropping up as will there always be more people in our life who might need assistance.
To be completely exposed here for a moment, this realization actually made me feel overwhelmed and futile in my efforts. “Why bother “preparing” for anything or living in any particular way if we’ll always be ill-prepared for something or always find more people who might need our assistance?” But it was because I asked this question that I realized that the peace and comfort doesn’t come from checking off items on a list. There’s not much of an accomplishment to speak of just because you take one CPR class or one solar oven cooking class and never revisit it again. Nope, the peace and contentment comes when this whole “preparedness” stuff is your happily chosen lifestyle as opposed for waiting for some historical cataclysmic event.
Obviously, this is only a fraction of that journey from Food Storage to Self-Sufficient Living, but it’s my hope that what we do here at Preparedness Pro will help anyone and everyone who wants to take that journey with a helping hand, every step of the way, regardless of where a person is on that journey when they come to us. In the meantime, please forgive me if I make a face when I hear those words which I now loathe such as “food storage” or “emergency preparedness”; I’ll try to refrain, but know that it’s only because I see those issues as a distraction from what's really important--simply baby steps towards a much more fulfilling and peace-filled lifestyle where panic and fear don’t stand a chance of thriving.
When those times come in which we find ourselves ill-prepared, we just need to recognize them as miraculous and loving learning opportunities, and when those times come when we are able to step up fully prepared to help ourselves and others—those are the opportunities for us to thank Him for the previously learning opportunities. *grin* Come aboard and enjoy the ride.
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