Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Luxury versus Survival (Part 6)

Hurricanes and flooding seem to be all over the news this past month. Here in the Midwest, I witnessed firsthand the panic that overcomes victims. However, I must quantify my "disaster" in this case.  Down in Texas and along the Gulf of Mexico, there are folks who have lost EVERYTHING: loved ones, homes, businesses, food, sentimental possessions, and pets.  My experiences a few weekends ago were at a considerably smaller scale: a few road closures and detours due to water on the pavement, a couple of inches to a rare few feet of water in the basement, loss of electricity for the day, a few fallen trees...nothing remotely close to actual disaster!!  

I dealt with folks who could barely contend with these minor inconveniences of a weekend rain storm. There were residents who were panicking at rising flood waters, "There's water in my yard."   For others, the 5-mile detour to their homes was unthinkable.  There was a mad scramble to get water pumps, generators, and sandbags.  Yet there were others who maturely said, "This is nothing compared to those on the Gulf."  What a wide spectrum of responses to a slight inconvenience this weekend.

I myself lost furniture and carpeting...and probably more than that when all tallied-up.  But all those things now drying out are LUXURIES in this world.  I can surely make due without bedroom pieces or rug. Yes, I like to organize my clothes into dresser drawers and keep photos propped up on their tops. But this week (and maybe longer) I'll have to keep stacks of clothing in my living room, on the coffee table and in laundry baskets. Oh well.

But I also want to bring out other incidents of survival, with various levels of challenge and consequence. Each of these has a real chance of occurring within your lifetime, regardless of your rick of adventure:
  • Physical attacks by muggers/ rapists
  • Loss of electricity/utilities
  • Snow storm
  • Fire
  • Hunger
  • Flash flood
  • Sickness/ Disease
  • Earthquake
What traits do YOU possess that help not only surviving, but WINNING the above challenges? What traits do you wish you had? And what can you do now to address those deficiencies?

A coworker of mine said she believed her strongest suit was her faith and willingness to endure. I do not doubt her.  I agree that a conviction to live is the biggest factor...but that does not give license to neglect the other aspects!  Does a faith-filled elderly lady trapped in a flood waters have the physical strength to trek or swim to safety? Is the Eagle Scout without determination to live able to last? The answers to those questions do not exist....yet.  

We will grow old and frail, instead of young and powerful. We will experience moments of doubt and unfaithfulness, instead of convicted and sure. We will be overcome by emotions, instead of stoic and focused. We will have lapses in judgement, instead of wise and rational. We will become scatterbrained, instead of knowledgeable. We will be weak, tired, and sick, instead of strong, rested, and healthy. We must do all we can to limit the downturns and onset of these problems. This can be done by enriching all aspects of our lives pertaining to physical survival. 

Begin by making a list of certain tasks, behaviors, traits, and skills that are essential to surviving the above list of challenges. 

Photo credit: AP photographer Pat Sullivan (Houston, TX)

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