I just finished reading this article on Yahoo! news. Our brothers and sisters in Haiti have suffered, and are suffering, because of a rampant lack of integrity: some of it personal, though I suspect that the ones who most deserve to suffer, have not and will not [at least not in this life]. Much of it structural, because according to this article, there are no building codes in Haiti. But primarily because their leadership has been corrupt for a very long time, and the sins of the fathers, and the grandfathers, and the great-grandfathers, have been visited upon those who live there now.
We are free to choose our actions; we are not free to dictate the consequences of those actions, many of which follow natural laws established by our Creator.
Our brothers and sisters in Chile (which has had its own struggles with political corruption in the past; I have no idea who is in charge there now, but Chile has seismic engineers and building codes) have fared somewhat better. Their initial reported deaths are one tenth of one percent of what has been reported in Haiti. [Update: 700 deaths, as opposed to the 200 which were reported yesterday.]
Why? they were prepared. This quake was 500 times as strong as the one in Haiti, but because the people were prepared, they were shaken but not [as] devastated.
The Lord warns us through His prophets to prepare ourselves. These earthquakes and other natural calamities are signs of the times, indications that He is preparing us for the final battle against the Adversary, and He also reminds us that if we are prepared, there is no reason for us to fear.
Want to ramp up your own preparations? Provident Living. There you will find links to humanitarian services, emergency preparedness and response, employment, home storage, gardening, education and literacy, social and emotional strength, physical health, and Deseret Industries, which is the LDS Church’s counterpart to thrift stores operated by organizations like Goodwill, the Leukemia Society, or the Salvation Army.
We cannot prepare for every eventuality. And we are not meant to be living in bunkers, guarding our year’s supply with semiautomatic weapons. But gather together a first-aid kit, and then a 72-hour kit, and then a month’s supply of the foods your family will eat as you accumulate a year’s supply of commodities that will sustain life, and then a three-months’ supply [of things that they will actually want to eat]. All this, of course, dependent upon whether your local laws allow you to do so. Because we all need to follow the rules; I refer you to the Twelfth Article of Faith.
Polish up your resume, even if you are lucky enough to have a job. Pay off your credit cards. Put something into savings. Get out of debt as fast as you reasonably can. Learn to say NO to your wants as you take care of your needs. Say NO to your kids, or your grandkids, when they ask you for the latest gadget. Let them have the blessing of working for what they want.
If your company has a matching program for its 401K, take advantage of that. Ditto if it has a medical reimbursement program, which effectively reduces your total medical expense costs by your tax rate. Consider a Roth 401K, where your contributions are taxed with your gross income, but your withdrawals, way down the road, will not be. I am gradually putting less into my regular 401K, which is matched, and more into my Roth 401K, which is not.
I should have put this first: pay your tithing. If you don't know what tithing is, I know some nice young men with name tags who will be happy to explain it to you.
And then? Don’t worry; be happy.
- Four years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!