In January the leaders of our stake (a group of wards, or congregations) asked families to increase their efforts to prepare for an emergency. There's a certification process for us to follow, which is basically a checklist for creating a plan, sharing the plan with family members, and collecting resources that would be helpful during a natural disaster or another prolonged difficulty, like unemployment. So, in a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone mentality, I decided to tackle the list as a Personal Progress project.
A few years ago Garry and I used our tax return to buy some food storage and supplies for 72-hour emergency kits. I didn't entirely complete the project before I burned out, and some things, like our food, were really out of date. So this week I pulled them out again. I made a grocery list, Garry went shopping, and I inspected the bags for deficiencies. I made an effort to collect important documents, make a printed emergency plan, and put all of that in one place. I also registered for a class to renew my CPR certification.
In the process I got really overwhelmed. Why is it that the more I prepare for an emergency, the less prepared I feel? As the kids helped me assemble our food kits, I got pretty stressed and snappish. How am I supposed to fit everything each person needs into a single backpack that is already impossibly heavy, especially for a child? As it stands, I have a short list of things we need for each bag, and once I get them, I'll be done with the whole thing for a while.
Interestingly, at church yesterday our bishop asked us to conduct a food storage experiment. He asked us not to go to the store for a week and rely on what we have in the house to eat. As I sat in the pew and contemplated his request, I thought that our only real issue would be milk, since we blast through several gallons per week. Of course I was wrong. Yesterday afternoon Kate started throwing up. I thought it was a fluke at first, but by the third time I was convinced. We've got the stomach bug in our house...and we are out of laundry soap.
So last night I went begging. A friend graciously offered some of her detergent to get me through the week (or at least through all the barfy laundry). I'm so grateful. I hope that if I have something that someone needs, like toilet paper or spaghetti sauce or diapers, I can help them.
I guess this is what I've learned: the law of consecration isn't something that appears on a checklist. Loving my neighbor--and being loved by mine--is a greater commandment, and obeying that should be my ultimate goal. After all, love will help me survive the trauma of an emergency situation more than anything but water, and I've got 200 gallons of that in the shed.