Monday, March 28, 2011

The Power of Preparedness

Last Saturday, we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC. The event was at a museum near China Town. There was so much to see, we just kept wandering around. By the time we left, everyone was to their limit of happiness and it was way past lunch. Then we looked around for something we could get to eat FAST. We entered the Burger King across the street and realized everyone else had the EXACT same idea. It would have been appropriate to change the name to "Chaos King."

The experience reminded me of the importance of preparedness. As life becomes unpredictable, our stress and anxiety increase. Change isn't always bad, but it is always stressful. The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale is a test you can take to measure the stress of events that have taken place in your life over the past year. The more stressed you are, it actually increases your risk of something else stressful happening to you (i.e., illness, etc.). Well, that was definitely the case in this situation. The stress was creating more stressful events.

Kurt stood in line while the boys and I went downstairs to find a place to sit (there were no seats). Kurt watched as customers and employees yelled at each other. Employees were yelling at other employees. Someone spilled a drink and the employees kept walking through it because they didn't feel they had time to stop and clean it up. They were yelling at the customers at the drive-up (walk-up) window for complaining about the wait ("Can't you see the lines in this restaurant?").

Meanwhile, we were downstairs waiting for someone to leave a table open. We finally found a seat and sat for about 30 minutes waiting for Kurt. Other people would stare at us like they expected us to move because we didn't have any food. Kurt finally sat down with us and we began to eat. People were going up and down the stairs looking for a place to sit. The environment was clearly tense.

Then a woman came down the stairs with a tray full of drinks. Two of them fell and splattered everywhere, soaking one poor little boy, and pouring down through the stairs to the tile below. For a few moments, time stood still. The woman froze. They dripping little boy froze. And everybody was silent, watching to see what would happen next. Then once again the bustle began.  No one cleaned up the spilled soda mess on the stairs either.  We were so glad to finally have gotten something to eat, but even more grateful to get out of that place!!!

We left, walking down the street with our sticky shoes as a reminder of what we had just experienced. They were clearly not prepared for such a busy day. There were not enough workers to manage the situation. It made me think of what an amazing principle preparedness is. We are such delicate creatures. We get hungry every few hours. We need water. We are certianly used to having medicine when we don't feel well, and tissues when we need to blow our noses. When we prepare, we can be ready for the unexpected.

Heavenly Father loves us and doesn't want our stress scale to go up further than it has to. He teaches us principles of preparedness. So when bad things happen, we will be more prepared for them (by the way, a change of eating habits is on the list of things that cause stress). So, let us take measures each day to prepare ourselves for the unexpected. If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear. That is amazing.


Alison said...

Wow! What a crazy day you guys had Linda. Thanks for sharing. I know you'll have some very valuable insight for our RS meeting next month. ;)

Anonymous said...

We always pack some kind of food with us wherever we go. When we had children we too small back packs to hold lunch. Sorry you had to experience this, and it is a reminder to be prepared in all situations.


Linda said...

Alison, I am excited to have our meeting and plan for next month:).

Linda said...

Nada, that would have been a great idea. We were staying in a hotel so I thought I had done a good job packing, but didn't think of everything.