I’ve been reading Rural Revolution and similar sites for years, so I’m pretty familiar with preparedness themes. And if you spend too much time on some of the more “out there” prepper and economic sites, it can make you a bit paranoid, which is something I try to guard against. I’ve always figured there is a prudent level of preparedness everyone should have given that natural disasters and the like can and do happen. Keep plenty of canned goods stocked in your pantry, have a rotation system for your canned goods, make sure you’ve got batteries and bottled water, yada yada yada. If you’re reading my site, chances are you already know all this.
And on a separate but related theme is homesteading; interest in permaculture and the popularity of having a small-holding with a big garden, fruit trees, and small livestock such as chickens seems to have increased in the past five years or so, and this is no bad thing. If you’re a lefty-type who worries about “global warming”, homesteading is good because it’s the ultimate in “grow local” and saves fossil fuels. If you’re the libertarianish sort, the independence of homesteading is appealing. Personally, I just love being outside working in the sun and dirt, so it’s been more of a hobby for me.
Yet over the past year, I’ve developed a growing sense of unease. It really started last spring when we began house shopping. A number of years before we’d moved from expensive Ann Arbor next door to cheaper Ypsilanti and bought a small house in order to save money for our eventual move out to the country, and last summer we made that move onto ten acres. We had originally wanted around five acres, but this sense of unease, this sense that I wanted more land for food and fuel production, increased with every home we looked at, and we ended up doubling the amount of land. We now wish we’d bought a home in a cheaper and even more rural area with even more land and a ready-made barn (we have no barn at present).
That sense of foreboding grew stronger toward the summer’s end as current events became even more violent and disturbing, both at home and abroad. Part of my reason for going back to work full-time in the fall despite my husband’s preference that I stay part-time was so that we’d have money not so much to save but to invest into tangibles and infrastructure. I couldn’t really put my finger on what was worrying me; current events were crazy, but aren’t they always? And aren’t financial predictions always sort of dire? I decided not to read economic or preparedness sites for a while. Yet my unease grew, and I began to meet others with the same unease, who interestingly are from all different backgrounds and political persuasions.
Last month Frank and Fern’s post Gardening As If Your Life Depends on It caught my interest because of the number of people who commented there saying that they too had developed this sense of unease over the past year. I tried to leave a comment and chime in but because Blogger hates me and marks 80% of my comments as spam, I was not able to, but my comment was that no one points to any one event – the debt situation in Greece, the increasing power of the Islamic State, massive third-world immigration, race riots – but the cumulative effect seems to have unnerved people.
I’ve tried just laughing it off – oh the internet, we’re all just telling each other ghost stories and giving each other the fun-creepies. Right?
I’ve tried to go back to the Bible for some verses to quiet my unease:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:25-34)
To be clear, I don’t think preparedness is unbiblical, since we are supposed to care for our families:
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1Timothy 5:8)
The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down. (Proverbs 21:20)
…but the anxiety and unease is perhaps not the attitude God expects us to have.
Yet still I have this weird sense of foreboding, like everyone is collectively holding their breath and waiting for something big to happen. It feels different to me now, though I can’t say why. It just feels like everything is about to change, the way you can sometimes feel when a big storm is coming even when the sky is still blue. It feels like an Ass is wearing a Lion’s suit and an Ape is pulling the strings.
So I pray and try to give my anxiety to God and I stock up on canned goods and frozen items when there’s a good sale and I work my garden and I try not to worry and wonder, but I worry and wonder all the same. The days seem evil, but then the days have always been evil and there is nothing new under the sun.
Even so, come Thou, Lord Jesus.