Where were you on September 11, 2001? I was driving and turned on the radio to the news that the first of the twin towers had been hit. For a brief moment, it wasn’t clear that it wasn’t an accident. But then, witnessed live by the reporter, the second tower was hit. I pulled off the road and tried to process what was happening. I was struck by two immediate and visceral responses. First, I ached to be at home with my family. Second, I wanted to stock up on food. My children were at school and my husband was at work, and so I went by Kroger, where I purchased bread, milk, eggs, and 10 gallons of water. There were many people I knew at the store. It seemed the place to be.
That day, our collective mindset shifted. We no longer feel invincible. In the years since 9/11, the unwelcome “what if” creeps in; before, it never did. I find myself taking stock of my pantry whenever a storm approaches. When gas prices rise, I consider how we would fare if we were ever truly cut off from supplies. Accumulating self-sufficiency skills makes me feel just a little bit safer. And yet, we can take it too far. If you’ve ever seen the show “Doomsday Preppers,” you’ve seen families sacrifice the known pleasures of the present in order to prepare for the worst possibilities of the future.
How do we balance responsible preparedness with fear-laden anxiety? People have lived through horrendous times in history, and I have not. You would be right to call me naïve. But today is good. I can hold my people close. I will look to the future with pragmatism, but I choose faith, because I can.
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