You know, it's kind of surreal watching footage of people in the aftermath of "Superstorm Sandy" trying to get by, trying to stay warm, trying to get a charge on their cell phones so that they can get word out to their relatives.
Here in central Pennsylvania we felt the effects of the high winds and rain, however, we did not lose power. And yet, many of my friends in Ohio are still without power. They are suffering already...and a winter storm is forecasted for the northeast next week.
Tonight, I was struck as I watched the national news. I saw a woman yelling at Michael Bloomberg in the street, telling him that she needs heat. She needs food and water...begging him to send help her way.
And I wondered how long it will be until each of us are in her same position.
Desperate. Crying out for help. Wishing we would have been more prepared.
In an NPR story this morning, I heard an airline official reminding us that natural disasters happen around the world basically every day, and that as an industry, they are used to dealing with things like hurricanes and volcanic eruptions on a daily basis.
I thought about how many decades (or centuries) the Lord, through his prophets, has been asking us to get ready, to store food and water, to have 72-hour kits on hand, and to keep them updated.
And I thought about my own personal "emergency preparedness" to-do list. I thought about how many times I've said, "We need to get a generator," and didn't. I thought about promptings I've had to get certain insurance plans that went ignored.
One guy I heard on the radio this morning lamented that the grocery stores had food but didn't seem to want to sell it to anyone who didn't have cash in hand. I made a mental note that cash in a crisis can be very important. And then I started a running mental list of things that I need to take care of...before our turn to face tragedy comes around.
These stories serve as a very good testimonial to what prophets have been telling us for years.
They don't ask us to prepare for emergencies to make us waste time and money or to create panic or to make us seem weird to our friends and neighbors. Latter-day saints are asked to prepare for hard times because hard times are coming (and are here), and because there is peace in being able to take care of our families and others when disaster strikes.
You can read more about what the LDS church teaches about becoming self-reliant at the Provident Living website.