We are living through a period of interesting and challenging times in our nation. No one knows how this will be documented in history except we will see words like Wuhan, social distancing, Fauci, ventilators, and Covid. We see so many stories on the big screen of uncertainty we no longer know what is true or not true. Personally, I have found myself focusing more on my faith and preparedness with each passing day. We don’t know what tomorrow brings and this simple fact alone I would think would be motivation too many to assess where their life stands, both physically and spiritually.
I was listening to a virtual sermon recently by my pastor here in East Tennessee and the sermon was titled “Pardon My Mess, I Am Remodeling.” Pastor K, a passionate believer and deliverer of the Lord’s word preached from the book of Acts, Chapter 1 and 2, specifically, in Chapter 1, Verse 7 the Lord said to His apostles He had chosen “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Later in Chapter 2, Verse 38, Peter replied “Repent and be baptized everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call. In Verse 40 Peter continued by saying “save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. In Chapter 8, Verse 26, an angel of the Lord explained to Phillip “you must be alert, ready, available, and obedient”
While hearing this message, reading the scripture and giving thought to the points made, I also related the points to my years dedicated to Preparedness. I’m not taking away from scripture and the points explained because they are far more important. This qualifies my point made that a person needs to personally address their spiritual well being as well as their physical and psychological status. Those who know me probably would agree that I focus my message as much or more on these three areas as any in preparedness. You must know who you are and how you would handle stressful events involving others and equally important is knowing yourself.
If you think back to your early days when you started gaining interest in preparedness you can probably understand my title much better. I often would think internally if others detect I’m in the midst of a transition from who I used to be to the person I was growing to be. Would others see it and more importantly at the time, would they accept me as the new person? Looking back, the answer would be yes, no, and maybe because each person had an individual relationship with me. It could be family, a friend, church, or a neighbor. Even former military mates who I remained friends with would be impacted by the transition. Yes, I lost long time friends along this journey. It was difficult at first to understand but years later I understood why that chapter of life closed and another one opened. For every friend I lost along this journey I have gained five who think and believe in most areas as I do. I see it like this. I used to think these individuals would stand by me through thick and thin in life. You know, that 3 AM friend call for a shoulder. I learned when I changed, they no longer accepted my new mindset and they bailed. Better to find out the way I did than when I truly needed them.
Growing up I was an avid music buff and sports fanatic. As I have stated previously in my book and classes taught, I was a skinny box of rocks with no priorities who lived for a chance to play music and sports every chance available. Nothing else mattered to me. But that all changed when I enlisted and adapted to a new way of life. The military changed me for the better and over the years I changed my priorities. But looking back on it, I was a lifelong “work in progress” to get to this point. Maybe it was aging, the military, real world missions, good supervisors, commanders, marriage, and definitely faith. Having a partner to help you, listen and share your journey in faith and preparedness has been a blessing.
Today, looking at life in the current state of affairs we are experiencing, I look out across the spectrum and I wonder about people I know who are also preparers. I see many who are at different levels of preparedness and I see them going through the work in progress motion. They email and tell me how they are often overwhelmed with the steps and changes they are experiencing. They express how their priorities are changing. They explain how friends turned on them for becoming responsible and building plans for their family’s future in the event of a job loss, accident, or disaster. I stand by them to listen and support them because I do understand. I was there myself at some point. Just as my Christian brothers and sisters stood by me and supported me years ago, I now stand by these new preparers as they put one foot in front of the other to grow and build their insurance policy in preparedness.
Over the last ten years of preparedness, one of the key elements of my preparedness has been spiritual conversations with Festus. We have spent an unknown number of hours over the phone, standing outside our church in a parking lot, on Blueberry Mountain at Festus place, over lunch, emails, text, and probably other ways I am forgetting. I can recall times when world events almost seemed off the radar and to the point our souls felt very heavy. The ups and downs of the world tested our foundation but our core convictions in our faith walk kept us grounded and moving forward. The spirits of evil tested us often but Ms. Lucy, Festus, TazLady and a few others supported one another, prayed together, and helped one another get over tough hurdles when invisible evils would attack. If you don’t know what I am speaking about or you have never experienced it, just start praying and focusing your mind on what you are praying and watch what happens.
In both the spiritual and preparedness journey we can say with a smile, “pardon the mess, I’m a work in progress” because we are changing and bettering ourselves individually, right? Just as we have do’s and don’ts in our faith, we also have a list of things we need to do and not do in our preparedness journey.
I wrote about death and facing death in my book, Hope for Survival, and the sudden emotions and feelings one faces and must deal with. When you hold the hand of a dying human and he says “I’m afraid to die because I don’t know what happens next” you really learn to address your own internal self and understanding to the question of the dying human. Having encountered both the saved and unsaved in their last moments, it is totally different handling it when a person is saved and they have eternal life after life here on earth. It is also sobering when a person is on their death bed and they tell you they have never been in a church or learned who this man named God is and they proceed to ask you or a Chaplain to tell them. They eventually accept Christ as their personal savior before taking their last breath.
You see, in one way or another, we all are a work in progress no matter what stage our spiritual or preparedness journey is in. I can tell you my personal journey in both areas has been far more rewarding and comforting when I continue the walk to preparedness around like-minded people in these areas. We don’t know what tomorrow brings but I do know my spiritual and preparedness steps are solid but ongoing daily. If my preparedness measures are never needed because my life is cut short here on earth, I know my life and Ms. Lucy’s life will move on to eternal life.
To my preparedness friends who are not believers, I tell you often I pray for you and your families, and I do. I pray for you just like, if not more, than my brothers and sisters who are on the spiritual walk. I hope you don’t mind the prayers. I have to be honest with you, and just like I said to you in the last chapter of my book, I pray that I will see you on the other side in heaven. I hope to stand with you as we prepare and stand with you while we pray. We are a work in progress but we are moving in the right direction.
Bravo Echo Out