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Be Prepared

With the preponderance of online links and web messages I have been tracking storm Sandy or at least giving in to watching the newscasts. And, of course, since there is only so much to be said about a bunch of swirling wind and rain, the news coverage attempts to offer helpful hints for how to be prepared when Sandy comes to your area. Bottled water. Batteries. Fresh water frozen. Non-perishable food on hand. Gas in your car. Keep your electronics charged.

In the old days, and by this I mean, 10-15 years ago, we didn’t have the news 24-7 and we weren’t bombarded with these be prepared messages. My question: are we now any better off?

This hit me smack in the face last night as the wind whipped the trees in the darkness outside my window. I had made preparations – flashlight, water, food, etc. But my husky and I seemed the only ones concerned. He was, uncharacteristically, collecting his “toys” (by uncharacteristic I mean that he has not shown an interest in any of these for about a decade and he is 12 years old), squeaking them each in turn and carting them to his bed one by one. I was antsy, looking out the window, and finally collecting my valuables (computer, cell phone, kindle and journal) and heading to the basement. Because the center of the lower levels of the house are the safest. Everyone who has been watching the news knows this!

All this while the rest of my family sat doing what they normally would – tv, computer, skype, newspaper, etc. – without any concern for preparations.

So, here I am huddled downstairs, wondering if I am a bad mom for not insisting my children take cover from whatever might lie ahead. My husband, well he can fend for himself – there’s no telling him.

This morning the winds have passed. I feel a bit silly, having taken refuge in the basement. But I was just “being prepared.” Because action is what I take when I am told what’s to be done. Not only to protect my belongings but to protect myself. But was I being silly? Was I allowing the news media to whip me into a frightened state rather than letting leveler heads tell me, ‘You’ll be fine. Just ride it out.’

Well, from the lines at the grocery store and the gas pump recently, I am pretty sure I am not alone in my preparations. Perhaps in the majority – but who would know? the calm and collected have been home reading their novels. Had the worse come, I would have been ready. As it stands, it seems to have been a bit of wasted effort and angst.

So my question to me is: How do I know when I am well enough prepared?

I’m not sure we ever know completely – until we have the view from afterwards. But, looking ahead, there will always be external voices pointing out the dangers that lay in wait. Planting the seeds of fear. The voice within me needs to be louder. The one that says, take a seat, fear. You’ve done all you can, now trust.

And when the worst doesn’t come, be grateful.

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