Saturday, August 02, 2014

Be Prepared!

Is it possible to "be prepared" without hoarding?

Part of the problem is not knowing what to "be prepared" FOR.
~ Being prepared for power outages and huge blizzards would require a stocked pantry and candles and flashlights and kerosene heaters and offline resources.
~ Being prepared for a terrorist attack might require the same things, as well as heirloom seeds and ammunition, as well as oddball stuff like knowledge of medicinal herbs, and do-it-yourself equipment (tools, well-water with a handpump, wood stove, non-electric grain-grinder), and maybe even being debt-free.
~ Being prepared to flee might require some of the items/knowledge listed above, but it would also require a memory full of hymns and psalms and catechism and Bible verses.  And good hiking shoes.

Preparing a pantry full of emergency meal rations and batteries won't do any good if you're flooded out or if you're a refugee.

Old-fashioned paper maps and compasses and backpacks and and water-purifying tablets may be necessary for someone who must flee, but they won't be much use during a massive blizzard that isolates you for a couple of weeks.

Oh, I want to be a pack-rat!  I want to store things I may need someday.  I hate running to the hardware store for a 9-cent bolt.  When my jammies wear out, I want to dig a "new" pair out of the hand-me-down box and not have to shop for more.  I want my years of Backwoods Homes available to teach me how to be self-reliant.  I want scrap fabric and used buttons.  I want sleeping bags and a propane lantern.  I want iron skillets and an outdoor cooking-tripod.

A recent article, The Problem with Minimalism, makes the excellent point that people must store goods ... unless they have enough money to buy whatever needs replacing whenever they have a need.  That includes parts for car repair.  And it includes packed-lunch versus grabbing fast-food.  And it includes toys and educational supplies and old-fashioned books that your grandchildren will need long after your children have outgrown those items.

But what about balance?  There was the day when Paul had outgrown of many of his shirts, and had worn out the rest.  I knew there were shirts in his size in the basement's hand-me-down collection.  We hunted and hunted and found nothing.  We finally bought a few shirts at Goodwill.  A few months later, sorting through the massive collection of clothing, I found nineteen t-shirts and polos in his size.  NINETEEN.  But the collection was so unwieldy as to be useless when we needed to grab something.  That was when I pulled back a bit, before I hurtled from Hoarder-Cliff.

Sometimes we need a knock upside the head to remember that God will provide daily bread, and to let go of depending upon ourselves and our possessions.
And sometimes we have to have the good sense not to toss God's gifts in the trash, just because He provided them a couple of weeks (or several years) before we saw how much we'd need them.

But how to know which is which?

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