Just recently I ran into an interesting reaction to the idea of preparation for personal security and family defense. Specifically it was a reaction to hardening the home and making it more difficult for people to get in, whether to burglarize or attack.
“I shouldn’t have to do that”, the person wrote.
No, you shouldn’t.
But you need to.
If this were a perfect world we’d never need to think about self defense and home security and lethal force and all that other preparedness stuff. We also wouldn’t need to think about war and starvation and political opportunism, either.
The reality, though, is that you and I live in a world where man does horrible, evil things to his fellow man. (No sexism implied, of course.) People take advantage of each other in small and large ways. People hurt one another. People kill other people for petty reasons.
It’s this world that we need to deal with, not the idealized one where none of that happens. Many people attempt to live in that fantasy world; crime and despotism happen in other parts of the world, not here. Yet we can find instances, every day, where crimes do happen in our own backyards.
I understand the reaction; no, you shouldn’t NEED to do things to protect yourself and your family. But if you want to live in the real world, you need to confront and become comfortable with the fact that you do need to prepare and equip yourself.
Preparation without fear
Now don’t misunderstand: I’m not suggesting that you adopt a paranoid, fearful attitude in doing this. The thing about living in a fantasy world is that you have to constantly shut out the reminders that reality isn’t all that far away. The fantasy world is really the most fearful world, because you know that any little thing can cause it to fall apart. You might not want to admit it, but you know deep down it’s true.
The real world, the one where you do need to prepare for the unexpected, can be the most free. Knowing that something could happen to you — a criminal attack or a natural disaster — is oddly and paradoxically freeing. By facing reality head-on and dealing with the possibilities by learning to how to stay safe against them, you empower yourself. You make yourself braver, less fragile. You come away with the knowledge that you can shrug off the worst the world can throw at you, and survive to smell the flowers.
Yes, it’s possible to allow paranoia to creep into a prepared lifestyle, and I can point you to lots of people who have. They live in fear because they don’t have perspective: we don’t prepare because we fear death, we prepare because we love life. We prepare so that we can get up to another beautiful sunrise or to the sound of children’s laughter or birds singing, so that evil doesn’t ruin our lives the way it has for others.
Preparation is resiliency. In resiliency can be found serenity.
Reality bites, but not those who are prepared
So I agree with that person: you shouldn’t have to do those things. But by ignoring evil, by wishing it away through denial, this person is actually allowing fear to control her life. She wishes things weren’t the way they are, and as a result she’ll be less prepared and less able to deal with misfortune when it visits her.
You can’t wish bad things away. Reality is reality; you either acknowledge it and use it to your advantage, or it will automatically work against you. By learning and equipping yourself you prepare to use reality to your advantage. What advantage?
To live your life.
Acknowledging the need to prepare, to learn how to defend yourself and your family, to be ready for the plausible threats to your life and livelihood, is taking advantage of reality to make yourself better. You’re the one who gets to sleep soundly and pass through life confidently. You’re the one who gets to look forward to the future. You’re the one who gets to stop and smell the flowers.
Not a bad tradeoff for a little initial discomfort, I’d say.
What are you doing to make yourself more resilient?
– Grant Cunningham
Photo: Samuel Zeller, http://archive.samuelzeller.ch
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