I learned a valuable lesson last week that I would like to share with you.
I live a well-ordered life. If you know me at all, that would probably come as a surprise to you. NOT! I know what’s expected of me, where I am supposed to be at any given time, etc. I always clean my house before I go on vacation so I can return and not be frazzled by a mess.
So, around noon on the 7th, someone called the office and told us that there was a fire in Fallbrook. Within a few hours, most our staff had gone home to prepare for possible evacuation. I was never forced to evacuate my home, but I was on alert, because the fire was moving very quickly.
The first thing I did when I got home was to get my cats prepared to leave.
Next I gathered my important papers—insurance, passport, birth certificate, household inventory. These items were all in my closet, but scattered here and there.
Next I packed a change of clothes and toiletries, and finally the photo albums.
I guess everyone has a different order as they go through their priorities, but this was mine.
I packed all these items in the car and left it outside in the driveway (in case of loss of power) ready to go. The small safe, my purse, and the cats remained by the front door. I stayed up all night, dosing—fully dressed—in the living room. The tv keep me informed. I went outside every half hour to look at the sky. I was able to see actual flames that, for many hours, continued to get closer!
By Friday afternoon, I felt comfortable enough to unpack my car.
I decided that it would be silly to take all the papers out of the box and put them in various locations. They now will remain together—ready to go. After all, we should always be ready for an earthquake. Right?
I also made a list of all the items that were important to me. Last week I had time to think things through—next time might happen much more quickly.
OK, thank you for your patience. The lesson I learned was much more important than how to pack my car for evacuation.
It was how to be prepared spiritually. And how appropriate that this happened during Advent when we are preparing ourselves for the Coming of the Lord?
If you were given one year to live, what would you work on in your faith life to be ready? Would you go to confession? Start attending Mass ever week? Give to charity?
What if you were told that you only had a month? A week? A day?
What if you had NO time to prepare. In the analogy of our recent fires, imagine that you were told to evacuate immediately with only the clothes on your back. Are you comfortable with that?
I would guess that most of us need a little time to get things in order. Why not start now?