Plan for Tomorrow – It’ll Get Here Sooner Than You Think

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

For the first time in months, I made it through the weekend without a trip to the grocery store. That doesn’t happen very often. And don’t get me wrong – when we need groceries, I like to go along. But I guess we’ve been stocking up over the past several weeks, so there’s really nothing we needed at the time. Again, that doesn’t happen very often.

Some things you can’t stock up ahead of time. Milk has an expiration date that you can’t really ignore. With other things, expiration dates are more of a suggestion. I’m not sure if there’s a shelf-life on macaroni noodles, but I’d feel pretty safe throwing them in boiling water after the expiration date. Yogurt, on the other hand, is a little more testy. When the foil lid is bulging, it’s about to open itself.

My mom always kept extra dry foods and canned goods in an outdoor pantry. When it became evident my dad’s employer was about to go under, she began stocking things up to make sure they’d be able to ride out any periods of unemployment. It was a smart move. Until one of the neighbors helped themselves to most of what was in the cabinet. But that’s another story.

There’s a reason farmers have silos full of grain that they won’t need until next year. It’s the same reason we save money, or at least try to, when we have a little extra. Or that we carry an umbrella in the car on sunny days. It’s about having what you need when the need arises. Or, as the saying goes, dig the well before you get thirsty. You know the need will be there someday. So, plan for it.

There have been more than a few times in my life when I’ve been caught off-guard with a job loss or an unexpected expense. We like to think we can plan for the future, but in all honesty, the future just gets a good laugh out of that. If you think you’ve got all your ducks in a row, it’s like a challenge to the gods to throw you a knuckle ball. And believe me, they will.

That’s why batters wear a helmet. Odds are they can stand at the plate five hundred times and never get hit with a fastball. But it only takes one wild pitch to really mess up your day. And when that pitch is coming in at 90 mph, they don’t have time to run back to the dugout and grab a helmet. So, they put that helmet on just in case.

Have you ever been driving to work and somebody decides to take your spot in the road? It happens all the time. And hopefully we’re alert enough to avoid an accident and get to work with nothing more than an elevated heart rate. But what if we weren’t able to take evasive action quickly enough? What if, instead of another car, it was a dump truck? That can really mess up your day.

And it can turn your whole life around in an instant. Last year, when I found out I needed brain surgery, it brought home a reality none of us ever wants to think about. In my case, it was relatively minor (something to do with the size of my brain, or so I’m told), but it could have been a life-altering event. And it’s not like I planned for it ahead of time. It just happened.

It’s a good feeling knowing you’ve got things pretty well under control, but in a lot of ways, that’s just an illusion. What it means is you’re controlling the things you can control, but with everything else you’re just along for the ride. And, like a rollercoaster, the track can take a sudden turn downward and there’s nothing you can do but hang on for dear life.

I guess that’s why I’ve always tried to maintain some kind of second income. It’s not much, and certainly not enough to live on. But when the chips are down, a little here and a little there can add up quickly. Especially if it’s something you can do from home, without any strenuous effort. The doctor only says you can’t drive or lift more than ten pounds. That leaves a lot of possibilities.

We never know when life may turn on a dime and leave us scrambling just to maintain what we’ve got. It’s nice to kick back in a recliner and let life go by without us. But there may be a day when we’ll wish we’d put some of that time to better use, or we’ll think of all those opportunities we let slip by.

Put on the helmet now, before you stare down a wild pitch. Set something aside for a rainy day. Take another look at those opportunities. Maybe you’ll never need any of those things. But what if you do?

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

We Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Today will be a little out of the ordinary for me. My company is sponsoring a food drive, and I’ve been given the opportunity to help out. It’s something that’s badly needed in our area, especially with the devastation from tornadoes a few short months ago. Thousands were left without a home, or without the means to put a hot meal on the table. It’s nice to be able to give something to those in need.

Most of us never think we’ll find ourselves in a similar situation. We go to work every day, we bring home a paycheck, pay the bills, and life goes on. If something out of the ordinary comes along, we take a little out of savings or use a credit card to handle the emergency. It’s a place of comfort – of knowing we can handle pretty much anything that comes up. As long as it’s not too big.

Then one night, as we’re putting the kids to bed and making our final rounds through the house, sirens go off. Before we can even get to the TV to see what’s going on, alerts blast through on every cell phone in the house. “Multiple tornadoes on the ground – seek shelter immediately!”

At that point, it doesn’t matter how much money you make or how much is sitting in the bank. Your house is as much a target as anything else in town, and all you can do is hunker down and pray. For most of us, it was just an inconvenience – we sat in the basement until it was over. But others huddled together as they listened to the sound of their home being ripped apart.

It’s at that moment that you realize you don’t have it all under control. Things happen that none of us count on, and we’re left to deal with the aftermath. Yes, the homes will be rebuilt. But some won’t be finished until next year. Meanwhile, the families who lived there have been relegated to apartments and hotel rooms in neighboring communities. And they may never be able to replace some of the things they lost.

That’s the reality of life. It’s easy to get caught up in the pride of being able to earn a living and take care of our own, to relish in the comfort of a career that pays the bills, and to celebrate a few promotions along the way. And then in a moment, along comes something we can’t control, and we find ourselves fighting for our very survival. None of that other stuff even matters.

Every one of us, no matter what our station in life, is one or two strokes of bad luck away from needing a little help. The help we need may be related to health, finances, a place to live, a warm meal, a compassionate friend, or any of a hundred other things. And in that moment, we find ourselves relying on the kindness of others.

That stroke of bad luck may come with the thunder of a tornado, or with the silence of a serious illness. It may be the loss of a home, or the loss of a job. And it may be nothing more than the need to change our daily routine, to give up that cushy career, so we can stay home and take care of someone who desperately needs our help. The need may be evident, but the circumstances aren’t always so obvious.

That’s why it’s important that we hold back judgment and simply help where we can. My job today will be to register those arriving for food. Some will be on foot, and others will be in cars I can’t afford. Some will be dressed in shabby clothing, and others will look like they’re on their way to a corporate function. And it’s possible I may see some familiar faces in the crowd. You just never know.

Mom always used to tell us that when you see somebody in need, instead of trying to judge their circumstances or how they may have gotten there, we should just say a short prayer – there, but for the grace of God, go I.

By the end of the day, my lower back will be ruined. I’ll have work to make up on Monday that I didn’t get to do today, and I’ll probably spend the weekend on a heating pad. But when the last bag of food has been distributed, I’ll still be able to enjoy a home-cooked meal and the comfort of my own bed. Not because I’ve done anything special to deserve it. But because, as of this moment, none of it has been taken away.

There’s something to be said for counting our blessings. And there’s an even greater blessing in being able to help someone in need. Tomorrow, it could be any one of us. Appreciate the things you’ve worked for and take care of what you’ve got. Just keep it in perspective and remember that, while we may be able to control some things, others are simply a matter of grace.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved