Survival When There’s No “Normal”–What Are We Afraid Of?

It’s reported that money given to the Haitian earthquake relief effort in just a few days has gone past the amount given in the aftermath of Katrina or the tsunami in Southeast Asia a few years ago.  Do we have greater sympathy for the Haitians?


Is this the shining example of good and noble people who rise to meet the challenge, like the late Paul Harvey used to talk about with pride?  Are people stepping up to the plate because they’ve lost faith in governments to act?


Is the media publicity greater than in those previous disasters?  Do Facebook and Twitter have anything to do with it?


Or has the reported dollar amount of giving (I don’t even know what it is) been skewed by inflation and a devalued dollar?  In other words, how would giving in 2005 compare if it were reported in adjusted figures for today?


Or is something else at work here?  I suggest there could be.


What if there’s a deep seated fear of anarchy and collapse?  It seems evident in the reactions of those in power.  For example, certain banks and car companies are "too big to fail."  The status quo, or something like it, must be maintained.  Apply the bandages as soon as possible.  Protect against collapse at all cost.


I don’t mean to underestimate or belittle the sincerity of the outpouring of sympathy and empathy for the people of Haiti.  However, I have a few questions.


While we’re sending dollars to Haiti, are we subconsciously thinking we’re keeping disaster in our own lives at bay?  Are we thinking that if we’re generous in time of trouble, others will return the favor when we have calamity?  Is this a backdoor kind of preparedness?  In other words, never mind if I’m not prepared.  Someone else will bail me out when the time comes.


Give what you feel you can to the Haitians or any other relief and rescue effort of your choosing, but please don’t do so in place of your own preparedness efforts.


But what if things in Haiti never get back to something like normal?  Someone on the news the other day said the Haitians are strong and beautiful people.  Maybe they’ll make it somehow after all, with or without our help.


Or maybe there’s another factor at work.  As horrific as disasters of this magnitude can be, is it possible we’re just not willing or able to accept them?


Don’t we freak out if we get a coffee stain on a new suit or dress?  I think of a friend who spent hundreds of dollars having minor vandalism repaired on his new pickup.  Did he really have to?  Do we project such attitudes on the rest of the world when catastrophe happens?  When it’s "broken," must we restore it to perfection?


Sometimes things never return to the way they were.  For example, there are places in New Orleans where weeds have taken over streets that once bustled with activity before Katrina.  Looking at a bigger picture, we forget that great empires have risen and fallen and are no more.


That’s what we’re afraid of, isn’t it?  Something terrible will happen and things will never be the same and can’t be fixed.  But what if that something terrible really does happen?  What if life as we know it will never be the same again?  Maybe the economy will continue to worsen.  What if the U. S. breaks up into separate nations?  What if we have a massive electromagnetic pulse?  What if these things can’t be undone or fixed?  How will we cope?


If you’ve ever been through a personal tragedy and faced your own mortality, you never look at things as you did before.  A car accident, heart attack, or the death of a loved one are examples of things that change us forever.  Yet we go on.  We survive, but perhaps  with a different motivation or a renewed purpose in life.  Will we do the same in the event of collapse and anarchy?


Once I asked a senior citizen friend how he was doing that day.  He said, "I woke up this morning and thanked God I could still open my eyes and take another breath."


That sounds so trite and trivial, doesn’t it?  If you’re a young person, it probably does because these are simple things you take for granted.  As you mature, you understand these simple things in a different light.


There’s much I haven’t lived through.  There’s much I hope I never have to live through.  But survival is as much about what’s in your heart and soul as it is about having wilderness skills or storage food and survival supplies.  In the event of a collapse, whether in my own life or in society at large, may God give me the strength and grace to face each day with thankfulness and resolve.  May He do so for you as well.



Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

2 thoughts on “Survival When There’s No “Normal”–What Are We Afraid Of?”

  1. I have been wondering if people are donating the money to Haiti INSTEAD OF or BESIDES donating to folks here in the US?

    To each person who goes hungry, is homeless or needs medical care, their own crisis is just as dire as the one in Haiti, but because it happens on a personal level out of the media’s eye, does not make it less of a crisis. Let’s not forget the folks here “at home” as we help those in Haiti.

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