diaster plan

Image courtesy of  Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today is a day of irony. I was lecturing to my class about the role nurses play in responding to disasters, and I mentioned that one of the most important things we can do is try to prepare people about how to respond in a disaster/crisis situation by teaching them safety tips, etc. One of the examples I gave to illustrate this point was to remind them how important it is to keep fire exits accessible, and I mentioned that currently  the front door to the building we were in was  chained and padlocked shut, and if there was a fire they should not try to exist through that door.

On my way out of the building after my class I stopped to leave a complaint in the Dean’s office about what a major fire hazard it is to have a fire exit locked. It was explained to me this was the only way they could get the door to lock and that, consequently, this was the only way they had to”secure the building.” I was also told that unfortunately, at this point, no one had a key to the padlock. I was nice. I exited the building without saying something I would regret later. There comes a time, I think, when it should become more important to secure the safety of people occupying a building than it is to secure the contents of a building.

As always, I am left wondering what I am supposed to learn from this—–what spiritual lesson is embedded in today’s situation at the university? I must examine my own “crisis readiness.” I must admit, I only keep a  limited supply of canned goods and bottled water on hand for emergencies. I have “Mylar miracle” blankets that are made to keep body heat in  should it become necessary to do so. It is my plan that my dogs and I can use these “throw away” blankets along with other blankets  if we are without power. Beyond that, physically speaking, I am not big on “emergency preparedness.”

I have endured and survived numerous health “crises” during the past several years, and I have learned my best strategy for preparedness is staying spiritually fit and keeping my connection with God strong. Then, in times of crisis, I am aware God is facing it with me. I have to practice “talking to God” when I don’t have “a problem” so that it is easier to instantly turn to God when I do. This type of spiritual preparedness is similar to what we teach new comers in 12 step programs. We teach them to practice calling their sponsor on a regular basis even when things are going good. This important practice makes it easier to reach out to a sponsor when one does have a problem. If I cultivate the habit of relating to God on a regular basis, then it is much easier for me to automatically turn to him in times of crisis.

And where does the locked door fit into all this? Well, for me, the locked door represents my false self. I consider my “false self” to be my self-centered ego. That “me and only me” place in my psyche has a tendency to try to run things without God’s assistance. When my ego shuts God out, my inner awareness of God is blocked, it is as if I am effectively locking him out of my heart and soul because I refuse to acknowledge his presence there and everywhere. I have to constantly work at surrendering my life and my will over to God so that my heart and soul are always open to God’s presence and love rather than being “blocked”  from them by my ego.

May our perception remain open so we are able to perceive and acknowledge God’s constant love and presence today, tomorrow, and always. May God bless and keep you.

For more on this topic go to: http://www.semissourian.com/blogs/farwell

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