Preparing for the unexpected both inside and out

The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper.

Something happens when you get a text saying a missile is incoming and you should take shelter.

I know this because I got one.

What happens is immediately, your head and your heart go into overdrive. And your head says there is no place to take shelter and if there were a place, a bunch of panicked tourists would make it uninhabitable.

And then your head says it won’t happen, they’d stop it, it would target some other place than this one.

But even if your head is reasonable, your heart is going to stay upset.

Hearts are harder to control than heads when they get bothered, whether it’s in love or in incoming missile threats.

My husband and I had just finished breakfast on Maui when we picked up our phones and noticed the text.

“Did you see this?” I asked. He had seen a text but hadn’t read it and I encouraged him to do so.

But what do you do when a missile might be incoming and it supposedly isn’t a drill.

Maybe we should close the windows, I thought. It would be a good time to eat chocolate and not worry about it, my husband later observed.

Within a few minutes he flipped to a television channel that assured us the alarm was false and I watched long enough for my head and then my heart to get back to normal.

That day at the community center and the next day at church, we heard a wide range of experiences from people who thought their lives were about to end.

“If I’m going to die in 15 minutes, I don’t want to know,” one man said. “Forget the alert.” Another was ready to jump off a cliff rather than deal with radiation. Some sent messages of love to family and got messages back: “At least I know my kids love me now,” said one woman. Others looked at the false alert as a wake-up call to be more prepared.

Prepared with food and a place to shelter, they were saying. Prepared with a space as far away from the outdoors as possible and supplies to feed and entertain your family for two weeks while the air cleared.


But there is another kind of preparation that seems necessary too.

Being prepared for what happens next in the grand scheme of things.

Sometimes the threat is from outside, as with the missile threat. Sometimes the threat is from within, as with my friend and the husband of another friend who were both diagnosed with cancer this week.

Sometimes things out of our control take control.

And the only thing we can, in turn, control, is how we react and then act.

There was a calm in our short-lived storm on Jan. 13. A calm that comes from knowing there is a next step, and that you’ve done what you hoped was right in this one, and that though you most certainly are not in charge, Someone wise and caring is.

It’s faith-based. It brings a certain peace.

It’s the only antidote for chaos.

It’s the most important way to prepare.


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