Monday, October 8, 2012

Hoarding vs Emergency Prepping vs A Prepared Life

At the end of last month I was talking to a friend about some of the emergency preparations that my husband and I are completing.  I'm not going to go into all the reasons why I believe one should be prepping as much as possible for even harder economical times ahead.  Even if I didn't think there were signs I believe in living a prepared life.  By living a prepared life I am referring that one should try to prepare as much as possible for life's emergencies.  For instance, as an adult you should have a will in place, even if you are not married, that state's what your wishes are regarding your assets (or your most valuable items so that your family doesn't fight over them.  Sometimes people fight over the silliest of objects when grieving.)  You should have a medical power of attorney stating what your end of life preferences are (hopefully "Choose Life" vs accidentally signing a "Do Not Resuscitate" order as I did while in the middle of pushing my Jessie out of my body.  THANK YOU GOD THAT I DIDN'T DIE THAT DAY!)  You should plan for life's normal emergencies ahead of time.....for instance, if you live in a hurricane area you should already have the basic hurricane/tropical storm items on hand: candles/batteries in case of power outages, a water supply, etc,. etc.

We live in an area that has frequent power outages during/after strong storms due to the number of downed tree branches that fall.  When we first moved into our home four years ago we lucked out that we only lost power for a day, but our other neighbors were without power for a week....Last fall a nearby town had a major water line break: no water for three days.  People in that town were checking into hotels.  Last March our well pump broke which became a minor emergency in our household.  I made the mistake of thinking it was going to be an easier fix than what it was.  Instead of going straight to paper plates/napkins/plastic silverware I waited two full days before realizing, "uh oh...this is major."  Thus, even though we had stored water, I had to waste quite a bit to wash the dishes that the seven of us had used for six meals...big mess, big waste.  Now thankfully Jason was able to refill our big blue water containers, but in a real emergency he might not have been able to do so and I would have been boiling creek water for those dishes.

My friend though brought up an interesting question though about some perceiving "prepping" as "hoarding," which has really made me think for the past ten days.  I'm still not sure exactly how to explain the difference. I am sure that there are those providentialists who would argue that any and all prepping is hoarding...but then how does one explain  how God used Noah or Joseph in Egypt?  I believe that God uses normal people living extraordinarily ordinary everyday lives to help those around them....for instance, everyone thought I was insane for keeping my first husband Chris' car after he died.  It was a 1998 Dodge Stratus.  It had no collector's value whatsoever....I just had an emotional attachment because he bought it a month before we decided to move up our wedding date.  Chris only took out a three year loan and he never went back to the bank to refinance once we got married.  That car payment was a huge monthly expense that we frugally lived around.  As soon as Chris realized that I was pregnant with our second child we decided that it would be prudent to go ahead and invest in our mini-van, thus taking on overlapping car payments for a short while...again, we just frugally lived around it especially since we gave my mom my old car to use since it was paid off.  Anyways because I kept the car I was able to loan it to my sister and brother-in-law (plus another  friend as well) to use briefly when their vehicle needed to be fixed.  Then Jason ended up driving it after his truck was totaled when someone broadsided him by running a red light.  (We were engaged-not married-at the time and it took him a few days to be okay about driving the car.)  We kept it even after we had to invest in a truck with four wheel drive after we moved to country.  Jason would still drive the car to help save on gas money, but then there came a time when we needed money to help pay off some unexpected  bills and we found out that there was a family in need of an affordable (read: cheap) car.  By this time the car was about ten years old.  I was the one that brought it up to Jason about selling it.  I asked Joey if he would be okay with me selling his dad's car and he looked at me as if I was the crazy one....because to him I was-he didn't have any emotional ties whatsoever to that car-it was all me.  At that moment, I was finally able to let go of the car-and I have to admit that it did help to know that I was helping a family in need plus helping my own family in need.  If push had come to shove and I hadn't been able to afford the car prior to that moment than I would like to think I would have been able to let the car go sooner...but for me that moment was "right on time."

There have been other times when I would say that I have been in the "right place at the right time" to help someone else in need....someone in need of a dehumidifier that I happened to still have from our old house...extra cash on hand while travelling that we were able to give a family whose vehicle was broken down so they could get some food for their children and help with their vehicle.  (Again, if I didn't believe in travelling prepared we wouldn't have been able to help them in that way quite as easily.)  Donations to fundraising garage sales, etc., etc.  Now some would say I was "hoarding" the car or the dehumidifier or the cash....but I was able to help those in need at that particular moment....I am sure that God could and would have provided for those people without me, but I was able to give and hopefully grow in holiness by doing so.  As we try to prepare for coming economic hard times we are keeping in mind that we may need to help others in need...if we don't prepare ahead though we will not be able to take care of the children God has given us to feed and clothe...nor will we be able to help any others...so we prepare and pray....

I was raised by parents whose parents had survived the great depression.  We always had a pantry and candles and matches-even when my mom was a single mom.....live a prepared life....my husband was in the military, so we had wills and life insurance policies at the age of twenty-two (MORE IMPORTANTLY: BE PREPARED TO MEET GOD IN CASE YOU DIE TODAY RATHER THAN TOMORROW).....live a prepared life....everyone gets colds and the flu in the winter.....live a prepared life (medicine, buckets, fluids)....power outages happen.....live a prepared life....what are your particular possible NORMAL emergencies (tornados, fire, hurricanes, snow storms, water main breaks, no heat).....live a prepared life.  Teach your children by example to live a prepared life.

Give where you can when you can while you can because you never know when you will be the person in need or the person on bedrest or the person unemployed....a few years ago my father donated a ton of things to his local library when he was opening a business that closed within the first year-the librarian even suggested that he keep the items (probably thinking the same thing I was that he could sell them on Amazon), but instead he gave them away and I remember his joy...he received great joy in thinking of all the people that would read the books and watch the movies.  He gave even when he was in financial need.

There is peace too in living a prepared life.  Having already lost a spouse I have felt great peace in knowing that the legal documents are in place whenever I have had a surgery....I know that both Jason and I felt "peace" even as we were stressed during the well pump break-what comfort there was in those huge containers of water to drink, cook and wash our hands with....what comfort our four year old received a week ago when Jason was able to light a candle in the middle of the night when we lost power briefly for some unknown reason......

Wishing all of you the comfort and sweet peace that comes with living a prepared life,

Always,

Stephanie


1 comment:

  1. I think the biggest difference between being prepared and hoarding is that people who hoard don't use/give others what they have saved sometimes even during the emergency they prepared for.

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