Tuesday, April 5, 2011
TEOTWAWKI and Relationships
The first time I read the book Patriots, I thought, "Oh, this was obviously written by a man!" There was no way that 5 women could live under the same roof and not kill each other, much less work together. As a society, we are just not geared to co-exist in harmony. We are unapologetically selfish.
Over the last 100 years or so, we have moved away from interconnected community into isolated family units. Gone are the days when survival depended upon neighbor helping neighbor, and mutual respect was earned by the sweat of the brow - denying self in order to help another. We have replaced Sunday dinners with Facebook updates and old fashioned letters with impersonal computer communications. We simply don't need each other anymore. That doesn't bode well for end of the world survival.
Relationship, in the modern age, has become a disposable commodity. We don't need to get together for tea when we get all of the relationship we need from our online friends. If the neighbors don't come help get in the harvest, we will just buy what we need. If we lose our job, the government will step in and take care of our needs. In reality, friends and neighbors are a bother. They might hold us accountable for how we live our lives. They may question our decisions. They are certain to require an investment of our time and emotions. If we form a relationship with someone, it will make it all the harder to toss them out like so much rubbish when they are no longer useful or have the audacity to disagree with us. Real relationship is inconvenient. But, in TEOTWAWKI, we will not survive without strong community, without relationship.
I am guilty of the death of relationships. I have judged harshly, not been merciful and have been self-serving. I have watched friendships die from lack of maintenance. I have made a stand when I should have lent a hand. I have been a poor friend. But God, being a God of mercy, is showing me a better way. As I prepare for the end of the world as we know it, I realize I must prepare for relationships if my family and I are going to survive.
In order to survive a serious grid-down situation, we are going to have to work together. We are going to have to rely on each other's strengths and maximize the talents of our group. If we don't start working on our own character now, we will be lacking the basic tools to allow us to function relationally when TSHTF.
One of the most important character traits to poses when you are building relationship is the trait of mercy. As much as it goes against our grain, we have to see our friends and neighbors positive attributes and be blind to their shortcomings. In reality, that is what all of us want - we long for people to see the good in us and never the bad. We have to stifle that self-important part of ourselves that wants to gloat over others' shortcomings and instead encourage and exhort, putting ourselves in the position of servant rather than master.
We need to cultivate a humble spirit, given to building others up. When things get bad, the last thing we need to deal with is each others petty power plays. A humble attitude will go a long way toward building community.
Putting other peoples needs before our own will, in reality, serve us far more than demanding our own way. It is hard enough in our regular, daily life to be more concerned with others than ourselves, but in a grid-down situation, it will be nearly impossible. If we don't practice selflessness now, we won't stand a chance when things get really bad. Being selfless is one of the truly great characteristics of a human being. Putting all others before his own wants and desires is what Jesus did when he sacrificed himself on the cross. And see where His selflessness got us?! Everywhere. Can you imagine what we could do if we actively pursued selflessness in our daily life? We could move mountains! Selflessness will be the hallmark of the survivors at the end of the world.
Relationships can be challenging. They can be inconvenient and messy. But they also hold the key to survival when the world is turned upside down. We were created for relationship with each other, not with computer friends or a few choice people who tell us what we want to hear, but with our neighbors, our families, our churches.
Yes, we all have warts. We all are ugly and sinful. But we need each other. We need to develop mercy, grace and selflessness. In order to reap the benefits of relationship, we must cultivate the tools of relationship. Our only hope of survival is each other. We have to learn to care for each other now, or we will not have the ability to survive the coming collapse.
After reading Patriots again, I decided that yes, it was written by a man, but a man who understood relationships and the necessity of banding together to overcome great odds. He understood what it takes not just to survive, but to flourish. He understood TEOTWAWKI and relationships.