Thursday, April 05, 2007

Disaster plans...

In this post, you will find I've done a 180 from my previous post. It's just like me to do that, though. As in real life, I can change the topic in mid sentence at times, or create two totally different styles of scrap pages in the same day, and even go from singing and playing happily with my kids, to breaking up a fight and having to do 'time out' in a moment's notice.
You have seen it in previous blogposts here. I may write about cupcakes one day, and about telemarketers the next. Anything goes, long as it somehow ties into my life or thoughts at that time. Hence, the name "Nitty.Gritty."
This post is for me as I am have been developing a thought for a few weeks now. It keeps coming to me in different ways, so I am attempting to pull it together right here- right now.
In essence though, it is more of a 'big question' I feel needs to be posed...I'm not sure to 'who' exactly, but because you are reading this right now, I guess it could be for you.
Again, as a quick reminder, I am not a theologian. I am not a scholar or professor. I am simply an ordinary person with my own unique experiences, just like every other person out there in the world. I happen to get a lot of emails from many people facing "tough issues or circumstances in life" because I have painted a picture of life where apparantly many people feel comfortable spilling their hardships with me. Sometimes they (or you) are looking for sympathy, empathy or advice. Other times people share their stories and hurt just so I know I am not alone in the struggles I have and continue to go through in life. Many of you write just to thank me for being open with my pain and the journey I've been on to find joy, as it puts things into perspective in your own lives. To which I am always humbled and appreciative- that people can be encouraged or challenged in their life because of how I choose to live mine. That's amazing to me.
I say all that in preface to my thoughts about life and the things that can come at us sometimes without notice or announcement. They just happen. I think most of us are more keenly aware of the uncertainties and randomness of tragic events since 9/11 occured and because of such horrific natural disasters as the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, which claimed the lives of thousands of people. Without warning.
In my own life, I was out for Sunday brunch with my family when the unimaginable happened. Going about life as usual, with no thought to the danger that would strike my life while I was simply eating lunch. Yet it happened. Death, devastation, and life as I knew it would never be the same.
You may be wondering why I am bringing this all up today. As I said, it's just something that has been on my mind several times the past few weeks, and as I read a few emails this week, the thoughts became more pronounced. Then, last evening, on my way to Target for a few things, I came upon a terrible accident that was being cleared on the freeway. It was snowing and the roads were icy and slick. I don't know the extent of this particular accident, but it must have been pretty bad and involved several vehicles, because as I slowed down and made my way past the scene, there were two large firetrucks, six squad cars and four tow trucks with lights flashing and part of the road was shut down.
Ever since my own incident involving emergency personnel and vehicles, I have been more intrigued by these types of scenes. I immediately begin thinking of the people who were injured or touched by these events in some way. I think of how just moments earlier everything in their life was going 'smoothly'...even if in their mind they were 'stressed out' about life. Things that seemed a 'matter of life and death', now probably pale in comparison to the events that are affecting them right now. In an instant, their whole perspective has changed.
I get this in emails every single week. This morning the first thing I did was to pray for a Mom and Dad whom I've never met, who had a funeral for their 19-month old son today. He died, without explanation, during a nap just a few days ago. His parents are now living the nightmare of having to say goodbye to their baby forever. My heart is breaking for them and this sudden turn of events in their life. I understand some of the pain and grief they will now bear their whole life.
The suddeness and randomness of pain and tragedy in this world makes me wonder about people and how, especially in light of some major catastrophes (natural or terrorist or otherwise), we have stepped up our cities in different ways, to be able to handle such crisis. Even in schools and hotels and such, there are maps and evacuation drills for people to follow should something unexpected happen. Kids practice what to do in the event of tornadoes or hurricanes, and most communities hold disaster drills so that their emergency responders are prepared for major events that could come their way.
Yet I wonder how many people in their own personal lives have a 'disaster plan'. It's not something we tend to think about that often, especially if things are going well. But it just seems to me that more and more, as life goes on, that there is growing concern for us to have such 'plans' at least sort of tucked in the back of our minds. In just the past few months, again, just from readers of Nitty.Gritty. there have been people touched by inoperable cancer, death of a child or loved one, job losses, and divorce. That's just to name a few.
I am thankful, everyday, that Chip and I had a faith that held us up and continues to put our lives back together since our own tragedy. I can't say enough for the family and friends that have stood by us- for years now- doing whatever they can to help ease the burdens that we have had to carry in life. I had no idea that life could change so suddenly...just like the people cruising the freeway last night...and yet without notice, life handed them pain and hurt. Just like this family who today, are burying their little boy...and are left wondering what to do in life next.
I do not mean to sound pessimistic and dark, but I can't help but think that it never hurts to have a plan set aside for when life suddenly brings you to a major 'detour' on the road in which you are traveling.
I happen to believe that we don't have to live in fear of what may come, as long as you have a faith that is secure about your future. It's why I talk so much about my belief in Heaven and the reality that life is about so much more than our jobs and tv and the things that just seem to consume so much time and energy. I know that I have been able to really 'weed out' the things in life that used to seem so important, and instead focus on living for what really matters. As I seek to live from day to day in light of the 'truly important things', I find that there is peace and contentment- that no matter what comes my way in life, I will have the strength, the ability to handle even life's most unexpected events.
I just hope I don't have to put my 'plan' into action anytime soon. If you are wondering, at the end of reading this post, whether or not you have a 'disaster plan' or where you would turn for support- if you feel like you don't know where your 'command central' is in life, please email me {}. I would love to dialogue with you and help direct you to the Source in which I have found to be dependable through all of life's darkest moments. I may not have the answers to all your questions, but I do know where to turn in the midst of the storm.
It's a good reminder to appreciate what you have, right now, and to be grateful for the simple things in life. Each day is a gift to be savored and treausured. I know that full well.


Christal said...

Jody, In the midst of a storm, I know where to turn.. I just dont Always do it in the midst of a storm. It is hard to believe at times that God WILL come through. AS a military wife I am being tested right now. I am TRYING to get through the storm. THANK YOU for a POWERFUL post today. I could SO talk to you in a "storm".... If we lived closer! BTW, At walmart today this man LOOKED JUST LIKE Chip does in the pictures.

Julie said...

Another fitting post for me today. I'm slowly finding my way to the Source and am very excited about it. I've switched from reading grief and loss books to books entitled, "Confessions of an Amateur Believer", "Permission to Believe" and a really great one called "90 Minutes in Heaven". Even though I've already been through a "storm" of my own, I'm realizing that the only plan I need is quite a simple one at that!
Thanks, as always!