Some mottoes are solid enough to sustain us our whole life. How well I remember learning the Girl Scout motto, “Be prepared.” You could still wake me up from a dead sleep in the middle of the night and I would be able to recite the oath, too: “On my honor, I will try to do my duty to God and my country…” Those things we learn at such an early age are forever imprinted.
So what does it mean to be prepared at 65? Obviously it’s not just having spare batteries for your flashlight, matches in a waterproof tin, and dry kindling for a campfire, although those are still excellent practices. It’s not even stocking up gallons of purified water and canned goods in the basement in case of natural disaster, although I followed that advice prior to Y2K (remember that non event?). More recently we’ve thought seriously about what we would want to take with us should we have to evacuate our home due to wildfires. It could easily happen, and we want to be ready. But what else calls us to be prepared?
After a certain age it’s important to “have your affairs in order” as they say: to have all the legal end-of-life documents in place to make life much easier for your children and grandchildren when you go. That kind of advice can be found in any number of resources, and it’s important, but I’ve also picked up tips about being prepared merely by observation.
I’ve been blessed by friendships with several women much older than I who taught me pragmatic approaches to being prepared on a daily basis. For example, my friend Myrtle gave up driving at night, so she reluctantly but graciously accepted offers for a ride to book groups or organizational meetings. Myrtle made fabulous, unforgettable peanut brittle. One thing she did to be prepared was to always have small baggies of fresh peanut brittle to slip into the handbag of anyone chauffeuring her as a personal thank you. Much to my husband’s delight, more than a few of those bags ended up in my purse! She was prepared.
Planning ahead is a coping skill all my older friends cultivate. When we would arrive at an event, I would be digging in my purse for a pen and checkbook in order to pay the pre-arranged fee for lunch, while my older friend Denise simply handed over the check she had filled out in the comfort of her own home before leaving. She was prepared.
Now being prepared spiritually is what matters most to me. We’ve been to far too many funerals this year; most for people our age or younger. Like all who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, I have the blessed assurance of knowing where I am going when I die. I truly believe Jesus has gone to prepare a place for me (John 14:2). Yet I want to be prepared for whatever comes my way before I go to heaven by having the Word of God buried deep in my heart.
I’m beginning to wonder if I will live to see the day when all Christians, even in this country, are persecuted for our faith. If I’m ever incarcerated without a hymnal or a Bible, I want to have a wide selection of hymns and Bible verses memorized to sustain me! I guess the little girl in me who memorized the Girl Scout motto and oath, and earned all those badges on the sash in the photo, still wants to be prepared.
alice scott-ferguson says
“best” yet!! you invite us on some tantalizing journeys, Nancy…the possibility of persecution is more and more possible…i sense the Spirit’s nudging to “be prepared.”
Thanks for not thinking I’m too reactionary, Alice! By the way, I hope your mansion is next to mine!
Troop 318 . . . what memories! It started in my basement with my mother as brownie troop leader. . . and I think we made it through the 7th grade! You and Jane were the fastest “tent pitchers” in East Tennessee!
How good to hear from you, Janet! I sure remember those meetings with your mom and that Jane could always get orange and grape Nehi for our meetings since her dad worked for Pepsi!! I never had pop at home so I’m embarrassed to say that was a highlight for me! But we DID pitch some tents!! Fun to remember. (And you wouldn’t believe how I had to dig in the storage room to come up with the sash! Aargh! I need to clean that room out for sure–part of being prepared!)
Lea Ann says
Great article and much to think about so I AM prepared!!!
I sure think you are prepared, Lea Ann. Wish I could “merge” your brain with mine!
Jan Keller says
What a wonderful Holy Week meditation! Thanks for sharing your memories of Myrtle and Denise – two women who, likewise, enriched my life. I watch and wonder about the future, too – but how wonderful we trust in our risen Savior, Jesus the Christ.
Amen, Jan. He goes before us, and that’s all we need to know. Happy Easter!
Jimmie Bohannon says
Good one, Nancy!!
Thank you, Jimmie!
I agree with Jan…what a wonderful Holy Week meditation this is, Nancy! It’s also a gentle nudge, reminding us of both Myrtle and Denise, women who set examples for us in MANY ways.
Always, but especially during these troubled times, we ARE prepared for whatever happens because of our faith and trust in Jesus.
And it’s a blessing to have Christian friends, too! Special love and appreciation to both you and Jan.
And to you, my friend. Have a blessed Easter.
Doris Hildreth says
My friend, Kathy was a girl scout and this story made me think of her as I was into the 4-H program whose logo is Make the Best Better and that’s what I did. Now I am blest with life to and my new prayer is For God to bring the man into my life as needed. I went back to see the sash of badges. What a special time as there are sixteen and that is many instances to have with your troop. In 4-H we would say ‘in your club,’ It is unfortunate I have not helped with 4-H for over 15 years. Six years ago I was in a car accident that left me disabled. I am getting along fine, although I really learned a new item today, that I can’t even move the recliner…so this disability has be in more ways than I originally thought. My life has really changed.
I just found out my Mom gave me foot massage every day for the continuos flow with my blood for good circulation while I was in a coma for almost 4 weeks at the hospital. She just told me this today when she was styling my hair as I had plans to attend the dinner today as Diane Peterson picked me up. 90 adults were in Circulation today with good ham lunch in Calhan .
How good to hear from you, Doris. And I’m sure there are many similarities between Girl Scouts and 4-H, although I always thought it would be so hard for me to give up a calf or lamb I raised! I’m sure you know there are electrically operated recliners now, and I’ve prayed there is one in your future. I recently had a broken wrist and couldn’t work the lever on ours either, so my temporary disability gives me empathy for yours. Glad you are recovering. Have a blessed Easter.
Thanks for the memories of Myrt. She was one of a kind! Love to you and Jim this Easter
Same to you and Bob, Jane! And yes, Myrtle is so often in my heart and mind. She’ll always be a part of who we are.