I have a friend who was convinced, mostly without a doubt, that the end times were coming. While I don’t mind a healthy dose of the possibility that life as we know it can change at any moment, this particular friend ran into a bit of trouble, because of the course she took, and based on her beliefs.
In fact, her whole family ran into trouble. They looked at the state of the world, read the signs of the end times, and predicted that their time on this Earth was extremely limited. Wanting to make the most of enjoying their time together, they made some decisions to cut back on work, take some trips to places they wanted to see, and make their home a comfortable sanctuary. They were happy enough.
Two and-a-half years later, I found them in a very different situation. Although they were still convinced that the end was near, they were suddenly dealing with some consequences that almost made them long for the end times to arrive quickly. Faced with a mountain of debt, they were forced to declare bankruptcy, sell their home and many of their possessions, and rely on the kindness of others to feed their family until they could get on their feet. It was tough for a long while, and even with the support of friends and neighbors, the situation was not a good one. The adults lost weight, the younger kids went without dental and medical care, and the older kids found themselves having to take difficult jobs just to survive.
There were at least three assumptions made, three wrong turns taken.
Prediction: The family made a strong prediction that the end times would arrive within a set time period, and they acted accordingly. The truth is that we live in a chaotic uncertain world, and catastrophe can occur at any time, or not. Disaster can strike on a global scale or locally. This means that we always need to have both hope and preparation. Assuming the end is coming tomorrow is just as bad as assuming it will never come, simply because both those assumptions may lead to lack of proper preparation.
Lack of Prepping: Assuming they would not be around much longer, this family saw no need for prepping, past the average week or two of stockpiled groceries. There were no case lots, no family food storage, no long-term food storage of any kind. When their food ran out and they no longer had the resources to provide any, they wound up in deep trouble, not knowing how they would feed their family.
Lack of Responsibility: This family felt little sense of responsibility to be solvent. They predicted that by the time their debt became a problem, the world would be changed or gone, giving them a free pass on their spending and lack of income. There would be no need to pay the piper, if the piper was instantly destroyed in a blaze of fire. This last choice is the hardest one for me to swallow, because it seems almost sinister, or perhaps unfeeling in responsibility. In a sense, they were actively stealing goods and services, with no intention of ever remunerating.
My personal feelings aside, I think the lessons this family can teach us are ones that reinforce the need to be prepared, while being financially responsible. Taking advantage of food storage sales, repurposing previously owned gear, and learning to grow our own food, are all more noble ways of prepping while staying out of debt.
I can tell you that this family is now doing well. They are renting a nice, although small, apartment and hope to be able to own their own home again someday. They children are all happy and healthy, and everyone is taking things one day at a time.
I would be very curious to hear your opinion on this family’s choices. Leave your comments below.