I am a prepper. I have been into the survival thing for many years. I collect ammo, supplies, emergency equipment and all sorts of survival stuff. I read, practice and train for the event of a zombie apocalypse or whatever you would call an apocyplical event. I read an article this morning that got me thinking about why I prepare. Let’s face it, we all have our idea of what we want our lives to be. We want to survive to support our children, prosper, and be ahead of the poor schmuck who didn’t take the time or effort to prepare. Then out of the blue, I really started thinking about what I really want as the final result of my worldly existence. What reasons do I personally feel make life worth living? My fondest memories of growing up don’t revolve around gifts or things I received as a child. I no longer remember, with some very few exceptions, what I unwrapped on most Christmas mornings of my youth. I do however still remember the anticipation as I waited for the big day to arrive, waking early, and knowing I couldn’t wait to open my gifts. But one particular Christmas morning stands out in my memory. As one by one my family awoke, we gathered around the tree, and just sat quietly. Then mom said how much she loved us all. Her smile beamed. I gave her a hug and we had some coffee and savored the moment. For a short time we were just glad to all be together, all healthy, and life was quiet and serene. There are very few days during my school years that stand out in my memory. But I can still picture in my youth every day my dad would take the time to give me undivided attention teaching me how to do man stuff, using hand tools to create something really cool from a pile of leftover scrap lumber. Things like teaching me to use a gun, set up a fishing line, to throw a cast net, and enjoy nature while tromping through the swamp is what I really remember. It wasn’t any special or even expensive. It was the little things, the every day things that my family did to show their love.
Now I’m not reminiscing on my childhood to put you to sleep. I simply wish to set the stage as I leisurely get to the point of this post. I love life to the fullest. I mean, I don’t really want to die. I quite frankly have no intention of doing so anytime soon. I’ve always been contrary, and with everyone trying to tell me that I ‘have’ to die sometime, it makes me more ornery and determined to prove them wrong. But why? What do I want to live for? America and the quality of all our lives has been constantly degraded by more and more regulation and violations of our rights. Liberal and socialist constructs continuously intrude into our private lives. So what is it that keeps me getting up every morning to face yet another day? I’ve given this a great deal of thought.
My oldest son brought his daughter (our granddaughter) over to babysit the other day while they went to a movie. When I look at her I wonder, as she gets older, how to keep her “entertained” when she’s here. I have only the basic of TV, only the most basic of internet. In competing with modern day electronics, and what they teach in school now a-days, I worry how am I going to keep her enthused about spending time with this broken down old man. And I realized the answer lies in the things that gives my life meaning. All of my fondest memories from half a century revolve around creation. Taking scraps that would otherwise go to waste, and using skills my dad patiently taught me, making a house for a family of birds to nest in. Understanding the ring of life. Both in the birth of plants from the soil and animals from the womb. And so many small things. Painting a picnic table with my dad. Making home-made charcoal. Playing a game of baseball with the neighbor kids at the little community schoolhouse. Sitting in the woods, waiting for the squirrels to get used to my presence in their domain, and then NOT shooting one because they all seemed to be having so much fun. Then picking blackberries for my mom to make a cobbler for dinner.
I realized this morning I’m not prepping to survive, I work to live. If I can instill even a tenth of my reverence for the quiet life I prefer in my granddaughter, my life will not have been wasted. As a career nurse, I try to help people and do what I can to make life better. Life is not about getting more toys, more material goods or stuff to have. It’s about what you do, that counts. It’s also about who you spend your time with that counts. It’s about your family and your loved ones. And most of all, it’s about a healthy relationship with your maker.
So for my new 2017 new year’s resolution, I’m going to focus on my family. I’m going to call mom more. Go see my sister and my dad more. I’m going to spend more time with my three sons and my new granddaughter. And most of all, I’m going to pray more. I’m going to give up on the prepper thing. I’m going to put my trust in God and see what happens.
So basically, with the babysitting issue, I’m not going to entertain my granddaughter. I’m going to let her entertain me as I try to instill in her that it’s not he who dies with the most toys who wins. It’s he who has a great relationship with God, and who has worked to obtain an enriched life while working to the enrichment of others that wins.