As I type, we are smack in the middle of hurricane preparations. If you’re not enrolled in the Jim Cantore School of Freak Out, you may not know that Florence is on her way to the Carolinas. Admittedly, I am a little slow to the panic game. This is my 18th hurricane season in the Tar Heel State, and countless times over the last 18 years I’ve been told to hunker down, only to find that “the storm of the century” left a little to be desired.
(EXHIBIT A: Hurricane Isabel 2003, which packed winds of 14 miles per hour and moved one of my lawn chairs at least two inches from it’s original placement. It was awful.)
But in reality, this girl looks like she means business, and for that reason we’re hunkering down.
My wife is the Queen of Hurricane preparation. She has a list. She has hurricane snacks that I’ve already broken into. She has plans to clear the porch of flying objects. She has texts and calls out to everyone we know who may need a place to stay. She has enough bottled water to get us through not only a category five hurricane, but perhaps a zombie apocalypse and maybe enough left over to re-hydrate the Sahara.
I have observed Merriem this week with a mixture of admirable awe and predictable spousal snarkiness. I’ve teased her about her prep and mentioned that it might just be easier to hook a bunch of helium balloons to our house like the old guy on Up. But sometime tomorrow when the rains begin and the power eventually goes out, she’ll light one of the 947 candles she’s purchased, break out the bags of chips, and pull out the Cherry Coke Zeros that she may or may not have iced down in the washing machine. I’ll watch her as she swings the door wide to friends and neighbors who need to head to higher ground or simply want to hang out. I’ll see her dote over all of our kids and kids’ friends who are forced to hang out with us, and I’ll be reminded again that I married the cutest doomsday prepper you’ll ever meet.
Here’s what I’ve been reminded of this week: we prepare for what we care for. For the record, it’s not that I don’t care about friends and neighbors. It’s not that I don’t care about having food and water and milk sandwiches. But my wife is downright passionate about making sure all her ducks are in a row and all her baby chicks are back in the nest, and so she’s prepared. Way prepared.
There’s a correlation to the church world here. If we prepare for what we care for, that means that when it comes to our guests, we should prepare. We make a list. We develop a plan. We open the doors wide and invite in the needy, the lonely, and those who just want to hang out for a bit. We make our safe place their safe place. We take those on the outside and we get them inside.
So whatever your weather this coming weekend, regardless of whether you have a cat 5 hurricane or sunny skies, the question bears repeating:
Are you prepared?