. Always Be Prepared Before
Sometimes others seem to need us most when we are least prepared to reach out. It happened to me recently. I have had several major commitments the last several weeks and then last Saturday a good friend died in an untimely manner much too soon for her young life’s energy and the needs of her yet maturing family.
I was caught somewhat unprepared. There was little immediately at hand to take along when we visited the mourning grandparents and orphaned children. My personal sharing reserves were depleted, the need was “now”, and there was no additional time or energy to prepare after the fact. Oh, may I encourage all of us, because life’s stewardships shift and bulge at different times in unexpected ways and because difficult challenges come when we might least expect them, to apply or reapply the “prepared before” principle more thoroughly in our lives. Those we love and know will always have an unexpected reason to celebrate, their birthdays come around much too fast each year, they marry, have children, and sometimes they mourn. How am I going to be more “prepared before” so I can participate, share, and contribute even in the midst of other pressing needs?
I believe the answer has been and always will be in getting ready (often in bulk) to share a personalized gift, send a condolence card with a small remembrance, have a meal to unfreeze, heat and deliver, or pickup something near at hand to bring along when a visit is in order. “Very soon” is a good time for this focus, these preparations, and possibly a purchase or two. As soon as we find ourselves with a little breathing room, let’s sit down and “prepare before.”
Let’s go shopping to acquire, wrap what needs wrapping, stock up on what needs to be multiplied to refill our cupboards, and prepare what needs to be frozen so we can share, love, mourn, and support when the time is ripe.
Bake By Doubles
For me this means baking a second batch of cookies to freeze the next time I’m in the kitchen, adding an additional stop to my errands list and purchasing some appropriate items to have on hand. It means a wrapping session when I’m on the phone with someone who has much to say, and arranging a few silk flowers in my extra, empty vases. It means getting stocked up, again, on emotional preparation, the kind that can give expressive support, emphatic care, and encouraging sustenance to those in need.
So many times others have come quickly and easily to my aid. I want to be ready to serve in the same way. So together, let’s get “prepared before”!
Find more helpful ideas in my House of Order Handbook.
Photo from sxc.hu. Used with permission.