The floods, wildfires, tornadoes and other disasters in our world are increasing in frequency and severity. We watch coverage of them on TV news and the Internet, while fervently praying, “Oh, please, God, help them! Make it stop!” and “Please God, not here! Please don’t let that happen here!”
But it can and it will, sooner or later. We beg for mercy for the children, for the old and infirm, for those carrying new life, for their companion animals, for ourselves. But as many of us have learned on our earthly journey, God is no respecter of persons and the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Not many of us are intrinsically entitled to the privileges of protection from all disasters. We can only live good lives, obey God’s laws and commandments, pray constantly, and hope He might hear us and spare us such suffering. And we ACT to help those now in distress.
Why Not Me?
Instead of “Why me?” the question will often come down to “Why not me?” If all things were equal, I am not better than others. Neither are they better than I am, unless we consider only a very narrow definition of “better” and that for a brief time. For example:
- Perhaps I have a compassionate heart and some people never will have. It is a gift and, in that regard only, makes me a little better – or a little more useful – than those who don’t yet have the gift or have ignored it. Or maybe they never wanted to feel compassion. (It can be painful, after all.) Greed is their idol. The bottom line of the corporation is their goal. Shareholder approval is their trophy. Lives ruined and an environment destroyed don’t matter.
- Having a soft heart is an automatic response for those given the gift, and does not make us less humble than we should be. Unless of course we choose to be Pharisees and boast about all our good deeds and thank God that we are not like the Publicans. We never want to be like that.
- Perhaps many people have more of this life’s wealth and opportunities. Those, too, are a gift that gives them greater status in the world’s eyes and the possibility to do much good with their gifts. I know they’ll be treated with more respect than the poor are by most people because I grew up without advantages myself.
Yet we are all children of God, human beings entitled to being considerate of other people and deserving of safety and a modicum of comfort. Yet we have to prepare the basics for our own survival and our young ones. How many of us have enough food, water, pet supplies, and medicine to last for at least 72 hours? A week? If your child hasn’t brought home a flyer on disaster preparedness from school or church, do an internet search and start reading and getting, please! There are multiple links for preparation in many categories.
If only the evil people and outright troublemakers were destroyed in disasters, we could probably see the obvious justice in that, but too many innocents are swept away with those kinds of villains and insolents. The dangers of living here on Earth are well known and our trials are part of this temporary existence before we get to go back to our real Home. That leaves us with realizing we don’t know all the details of what God has in mind for the human family but we have to be patient with His daily decisions.
What Will I Take if I Have to Leave in a Hurry?
Most of us have the best intentions but we don’t always have a “Go” kit sitting by the front door. So if that isn’t ready, we aren’t likely to be thinking about treasures to take with us, too.
Emergency preparedness websites are your best bet for qualified instructions but below are some basics. Just be aware there are many more items to consider, depending on your situation!
- Keep your IDs, medical information, and contacts information in your wallet. An ID necklace on your child might be useful if they are old enough not to rip it off and toss it. Or fasten their info safely to the back of their t-shirt, even write it on in indelible ink.
- A grab bag for each household member. I last checked mine a year ago and need to update it. I’ve continued to gain weight from stress eating and other causes, so I know the stashed clothes would be an uncomfortable fit.
- A first aid kit, hygiene items, and a portable toilet with a lid. Something that will fit in the car or SUV.
- Cash in small denominations because ATMs might not work or other electricity may be off. My personal opinion of stores, gas stations and motels who deliberately gouge desperate people is that they all belong in Hell, with a capital H.
- Blankets, flashlights and spare batteries, even if you must shelter in place. And keep at least half a tank of gas in the car at all times. Just don’t expect to get far if you live in a large city unless you leave early. Gridlock will be almost instant once an emergency hits.
- Protein bars that are not stale, no matter what it says on the label because our scorching heatwaves kill food faster than you can ever imagine.
- Check all expiration dates…on tuna, raisins, puddings, individual applesauce, etc., not to mention cat and dog food.
- Bottled water. We should be rotating our bottled water, so it’s relatively fresh. This is easy to forget about if we normally drink tapwater with or without a filter.
- Baby food, diapers, and other special needs for the infirm and elderly. Baby formula costs a small fortune, so what you have on hand is probably close to fresh. You can’t afford to store too much of it. Ditto for diapers but try to keep some extras around.
- Most people will also grab family photo albums if they weren’t already destroyed in last winter’s rainstorms, heirlooms that were once great-grandma’s and favorite jewelry.
- We need to know where the insurance policies and other financial records are, so we can grab those.
In the aftermath of an earthquake or the face of an approaching wildfire, I would do my best to grab my genealogy files! I have spent decades on and off working on my own family tree and my husband’s. This doesn’t mean I am a genealogist!! Far from it. For one thing I am not certified as such and don’t want to be. I can run out of patience real quick with the more elusive ancestors. Dang it! You can’t have dodged every census taker or every church! Well, probably not on purpose, though we may never know for sure.
I would make sure pets were ready to leave with me if I had time to corral them. I don’t want to sound mean. Pets are absolutely family members, too, but if I only have 15 minutes to leave, I won’t have time to coax or drag a terrified cat out from under a king-size bed or chase a spooked dog down the block.
I would grab my laptop computer, my flash drives and a couple of file boxes. I know most information is replaceable but not all. And I can’t see the rest of the family starting to do any family research over again.
Your choices of what to take will be your choices and no one else’s but please think about it ahead of time.