Be prepared
Sunday May 02nd 2010, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

The question was asked in church today: how do you prepare for the unknowable, the un-prepare-for-able.

The usual answers were bandied around, like, this is how we’re ready for the next earthquake, etc etc.  I started to laugh, and the Sunday School teacher’s face lit up and she started to walk towards me holding out the mic in her hands–but I, wanting not to be boring, wanting not to state what seemed so obvious to me and that I knew they all knew anyway, really, just kind of waved her away with a “Don’t GO there!” The room, full of old friends and newer ones, broke out laughing.

I instantly regretted it, though.  Yes, actually, I did have something to say. I am, however, better at writing it than saying it out loud, so here you go:

The only way you can be ready for whatever life might throw at you is to already have had it throw some of it at you. Experience counts.

Experience is only a small part of it.

It’s who we are. Who, I should say, we choose to be.  Every day. In the little details. It adds up.  The little decisions, the little interactions with others, the little reactions to setbacks and how we deal with the aftermath (including of our own making).  A sense of humor is essential.  If our focus is on ourselves–and the really, really hard part about illness is not to get so wrapped up in dealing with it that we’re too focused too inward too often–then we’re not prepared for the next blow.

But if we take each thing life throws at us in terms of, okay, God, I know You love me, I know You say You won’t give me anything we can’t handle together but this part really does seem a bit much to me right now and do You suppose You could trust me just a little less with this testing thing right now? But after that initial reaction, if we go, okay. What am I supposed to learn from this.  Is there some way I can turn it around to be a blessing to someone else.

Then, I say, we stay open to the possibilities around us and no matter what our circumstances may be we are fully alive.

Then, I say, we are prepared.

14 Comments so far
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sometimes the hardest part is trying to figure out what it is you’re supposed to be learning from whatever the challenge is — probably because a lot of times we don’t know what it is until later

Comment by Bev 05.03.10 @ 5:43 am

Unexpected events always come at such bad times . . .

Comment by LauraN 05.03.10 @ 6:10 am

Very nicely said. I think I am going to print it out and hang it up so I can see it. Such true words.

May I link to it in my blog? I have some family who might need to read it.

Comment by Qutecowgirl 05.03.10 @ 6:15 am

Very well-said. This is the only “ride” we get, so we have to figure out how to make the most of every moment.

Comment by Channon 05.03.10 @ 7:48 am

Thank you for this post.

Comment by slimsdotter 05.03.10 @ 8:19 am

Very well said. The trouble with “is to already have had it throw some of it at you” is that we simply don’t know what will be thrown at us. ̆I certainly did not expect to have this brain abscess thrown at me some 24 years ago. Or Amalie’s death in ’08. Otherwise what you have to say is absolutely correct.

Changing the tone just a bit (and actually I think this part of the “dealing with it”, is to retain a sense of humor. Without THAT, I’d be lost. So …

During lunch break one day in college, one fellow sneezed. His Chinese friend said, “In my culture, if you sneeze once that means someone misses you. And if you sneeze twice, that means someone is saying something nasty about you behind your back. And if you sneeze three times, someone is speaking kindly about you.” “What if you sneeze 4 times?” the fellow asked. “That means you have a cold.”

Comment by Don Meyer 05.03.10 @ 9:27 am

Yup, I think you got it. And I know it has been through experience.
The problem with thinking that we can prepare for specific disasters by doing something specific is that we aren’t really in control. And can’t possibly prepare for every possible disaster. Can’t even comprehend or imagine some of them.
Over time we can discover who is in control, and trust in him. We can look back and see how God has been with us. And we can help each other along.

Comment by kmom 05.03.10 @ 9:41 am

This post brought tears to my eyes. You touched a nerve which is very raw for me right now, but which reflects a philosophy I have tried to live by for a long time now. Ever since my mother died over 20 years ago, I have asked myself, “What is it God wants me to learn from this experience?” Often the lesson is obvious, but sometime, not so much, and the learning is painful. Right now, there’s some painful learning going on, but I believe that every bad experience has a good to follow. And there are lessons to be learned in the good.

You are so much further evolved than I. I don’t know you personally, but I think I want to be you when I grow up!

Comment by Shadylady1216 05.03.10 @ 10:08 am

Don, you’re right, and this essay needed that. So I just edited it to add, “A sense of humor is essential.” Because it so much is!

Comment by AlisonH 05.03.10 @ 2:23 pm

The best way to be prepared is to simply not give up. Or, as the hubby puts it “brain freeze”. something unexpected, good, bad or horribl comes at you and your brain just locks up. that is ot good. You should be looking at the boulder coming at you down the hillside and thinking about how to avoid it, deflect it, etc. not just stand there gibbering while it bears down upon you. Or, as the old saw goes “god helps those who help themselves”

Comment by Carol 05.03.10 @ 6:20 pm

Thank you for that, once more exactly what I needed to hear. 🙂

Comment by karin maag-tanchak 05.03.10 @ 7:06 pm

What an inspiring post!

Of course, as it has already been said, experience is not painfree. Yet, I will say that I appreciate the knowledge I have today because of the decisions, the interactions, the reactions I’ve made and had.

Because of them, I like to think I am more attentive now, if that’s the right word for it…

Comment by Suzanne in Montreal 05.04.10 @ 11:13 am

Lovely. And to toss in my own humorous deux centimes, one thing I have learned from nearly six decades (!) of life is that one should never, *ever* pray for patience…

Comment by Lynn 05.04.10 @ 6:46 pm

That sense of humor thing? I couldn’t agree more.

Comment by Momo Fali 05.04.10 @ 7:13 pm

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