Smoke from the wood stove is drifting low through the woods out back while the sun tries to shine through the cloud covering. The temperature is just above freezing according to the computer so the dogs are curled up in this room with me. I fed the cats an hour ago and have been watching them eat and play contentedly, seemingly unaffected by the cold. Bad weather is coming, the line as to where the different type and amounts of winter mix will fall is still shifting and evolving as the event draws closer. As of the last time I checked, the winter weather, of which ever type, should arrive here sometime Saturday night into early Sunday morning and then hang around for quite a while. The anticipation or dread is growing and filling social media.
If we have snow, even if it shows up in a deep way, that isn’t so bad. You can get outside and enjoy that. Building snow creations, hiking in safe zones, some will make snow cream even though I’ve heard that isn’t a good idea with a first snow fall. Ice however, is a whole different story and threat. Falls, wrecks, power outages, all the normal side effects of an ice storm, which is something we are not accustomed to dealing with here. Let’s be honest, people here panic at the mere mention of snow, let that first flake fall and its game on. Stores are invaded, shelves emptied and the lines for what little supplies available grow long. It isn’t pretty.
I am relatively sure that mom and dad are set. I took mom to the big box store yesterday for what she needed. The one thing she couldn’t find was a particular type of cereal. With all the empty shelves, only missing one item was a miracle. I got the pet food and batteries. Hopefully we’re set as well.
Amazing thing, preparations.
We prepare for that first day. The first day of school. The first day of a new job. The first day of vacation. The gathering of supplies we need. Any new clothing or tools that may be needed. Adjusting our mindset from the last we are leaving to the first we are entering.
We prepare for weather events. Hurricanes have us boarding up and securing anything that would fly away. Tornadoes have us making sure of prayed for safe locations. Snow and ice have us preparing for power outages and being trapped where we are.
We prepare for our financial future through education and training. We start saving and retirement accounts.
We prepare for our health through exercise, proper diet, avoiding the things that would create risk such as smoking or over indulging in alcohol.If we do have one too many, we have that designated driver waiting.
We prepare for when life ends with wills and living wills and advance planning for funerals with the purchase of grave plots and caskets.
But what of after that? What about once that last breath has been taken here? This life, this journey is finished, at that point, eternity begins. As a Christian I believe that when I close my eyes that last time in this life, I will open them again in Heaven. An eternity in glory stretching out before me. No more pain. No more sadness. No more suffering of any sort. It is for those who have no yet accepted Christ, those who do not believe that I write this. We are all preparing for eternity whether we understand that or not. I have heard it said often that a loving God would not send anyone to hell. God, does not send the nonbeliever to hell. We send ourselves there. If we do not believe, do not follow God in this life, why would we in the next? Why would one who does not accept Christ, want to spend an eternity with Him?
I do not fully understand everything in the Bible or life. What I do understand is that God created me, forgives me, strengthens me and loves me without reservation. I have made many mistakes, taken many wrong roads, fought many battles in my life. He has always been with me. Even the times when I wasn’t looking, even in the times when I felt alone, He was there. He protected me and brought me back. With welcoming, loving arms.
My life is not perfect even as a Believer, a Follower, a Child of God. It isn’t meant to be. We are told that in this life there will be suffering. The Apostle Paul had ‘a thorn in his side’ that he had to deal with in his life. https://www.gotquestions.org/Paul-thorn-flesh.html and no, I am not putting myself on the same level as Paul. I am saying that we will all face those things meant to keep us humble. What we endure, we understand. What we understand, we can empathize with, show compassion for, and reach out to uplift those in need.
We can prepare for that life as well. But understanding Who Jesus the Christ is and accepting the forgiveness freely offered. Believing in Him. By reading the Bible and other Bible based books that give understanding. By joining a Bible based church and understanding that it isn’t the building that is the church, it is the people within. The people who understand that we are not perfect, we all have our faults, flaws and sins. That those are called to be saved and forgiven. That we are not to judge others, but love them, as Christ loves us.
That, is the most important preparation.