The Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared," never seemed more appropriate to me than this past week while preparing for Hurricane Sandy. I was a little slow getting started, I think in part, because I grew up in South Florida, and the news of an impending hurricane was regularly on our scope. All the preparation of taping windows, buying water, and stocking up on food, somehow seemed like a lot of work for what often turned out to be just a lot of wind and rain. Nevertheless, I have lived long enough to know that we don’t live eternally in Disney World, and you never know what “curve ball” life is going to throw at you.
As a kid, we actually delighted in the fact we might get a hurricane. My aunt lived next door, and always tried to look on the bright side of things, so she would say “let’s have a hurricane party!”, and we would dance with delight at the notion we were going to have soda and snacks for the big event. As a teenager, some of the ramifications of being locked in the house during the length of a hurricane, with my siblings, became as ominous as the impending storm. I remember having to listen to my brother’s Van Halen record albums for hours on end. To this day, I cringe when someone mentions the band name, with no offense intended towards the musicians of course. I also recall other more enjoyable moments when I grew older, like the time my husband was stationed in Okinawa, with the Marine Corps, and we had news that he would need to remain home during a typhoon. For a wife who had to deal with a husband, deployed during Christmas to the Philippines, I was glad he would be captive in our apartment. I made him watch an entire miniseries on numerous VHS tapes I had rented from the library.
Since those days, I have been known, at times, to keep a separate cabinet regularly stocked with “hurricane food”. My oldest son has teased me, and told me I thrive on preparing for disaster, but, I always answer him with a knowing smile, and tell him, he would be the first in line, to raid the cabinet if his food ran out. I don’t want to go around worrying all the time, and waiting for the next “shoe to drop”, or run around like Chicken Little, shouting the sky is falling. But, I also, don’t want to run the risk, of wishing I had done better for my family, and possibly someone else in need.
This week, when they announced that we would have a megastorm of the likes, we may never have seen in history, because of the breadth and depth for affecting millions of people, I sat up and paid attention. I am old enough to remember the awful scenes depicted on the television screen during the aftermath of storms like Andrew, Katrina, and we are all now seeing the effects of Hurricane Sandy. I pray that those affected will find comfort in the fact that there are those that want to help in the form of dollars, care, or a much needed hug. Be prepared to give of yourself when you can, because you never know when you will need to receive.