“It was very bad, people were screaming, some people were running, others appeared paralyzed. I was one of them…”  Julio Alvarez (http://tinyurl.com/yc9l2ma

It’s one thing to prepare for power outages, shortages at the store, and broken water pipes, to stock batteries and first aid kits. But the images of the last month’s earthquake in Haiti and today’s near-record quake in Chile show entire blocks, cities, regions devastated. How could one possibly prepare for that?

In a very real way, it’s impossible. Sudden terror often leaves little time to react before its reality is inescapable. And disasters that leave destruction as far as the eye can see mean that all resources are also devastated, both personal and governmental. People are left to help themselves.

Stories emerged from Haiti of looting, either from desperation or impunity, but also of neighborhoods that banded together, formed their own mini-government, arranged and directed aid as best they could. What is the difference? What makes one person freeze and another step into the gap? I’ve thought a lot about this over the years and still don’t have a good answer….

I’ve faced things in my life that others find unthinkable, tell me they don’t know how I’ve survived. And yet they pale in comparison to the human tragedies unfolding on such a massive scale. I can’t honestly even imagine myself in those situations. But I’m determined to keep going, not one paralyzed by the unthinkable.

And I am hopeful that by living my life with a preparedness mindset, by raising my children to believe that there’s always hope, to never give up even in the face of seemingly impossible odds, that they also will be the ones that persevere if, heaven forbid, they are ever in a situation like that. And I hope that for anyone who stumbles across these words, as well.

My thoughts and prayers are with all those who face such seemingly insurmountable challenges. May they persevere.