True confession: I have lived my life with the acceptance that while natural disasters do happen, they don’t happen “here”. Fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, droughts . . . They wield their destructive force in other places. So when I read articles about the need to get prepared – financially and otherwise – for the possibility of a natural disaster, I read with the interest of an outside observer.
Flooding close to home
But this week, nature made her power known very close to home. Flooding has happened in my city and in surrounding cities and towns. The local news has been completely focused upon it for many days, and while water levels are now receding, the impact of the disaster is just beginning to be understood. Furthermore, rain is in the forecast for the weekend, so there’s no certainty that the worst has happened.
- Thousands of people have had to evacuate their homes.
- Roads, schools, and places of work have been temporarily closed.
- Over 2,000 troops have been deployed for disaster relief.
- 126 landslides have been reported.
- There have likely been two fatalities so far – a father and his infant daughter swept away while driving.
- People are becoming physically exhausted from the effort to save their homes.
- People are facing impossible financial hurdles.
Is it possible to prepare?
I think that at this point, I’m supposed to offer tips on how to prepare for a natural disaster. But from what I’m hearing, many of the people who have had to evacuate their homes had taken a number of proactive steps – from building a wall between the river and their properties to having generators and pumps on hand “just in case.” Is it even possible to prepare for this sort of thing?
Every practical measure people took ended up being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the flood. I find that a sobering fact, and I’ll give my take-away points in light of it.
- When disasters happen, there’s always a way to help. From practical work, like filing sand bags, to contributing financially through such organizations as the Red Cross, people can channel their alarm into helping those impacted by the flood. It’s a powerful response to natural disaster.
- Be proactive and philosophical at the same time. It’s wise to set yourself up for strength, but to be simultaneously at peace with your vulnerability too. That balance between taking ownership and surrendering control is tough to strike.
- Hold onto your goals loosely. Goals for physical health, for financial security, for career moves – as well as for preparedness . . . They can have such a constructive influence on your life. But when those goals are obliterated, you have to be able to move forward with resilience. A crushed goal does not have to translate into a crushed spirit.
- Gain a spiritual perspective. Believe that there’s something bigger at work than you can perceive – even when disaster strikes. Have faith that times of terrible hardship can be woven into a beautiful masterpiece.
Have you ever experienced a natural disaster? What were the “take-away points” for you? To what extent do you think it’s possible to prepare for disaster? Your comments are welcome.
*Images courtesy of Charbel Kadri