Thursday, December 3, 2009

Backups and Spares

I like to have backups handy.  When I use the last zip bag, I am glad to have another box handy.  I don't feel I need two spare boxes, though.  When I open the backup, I try to remember to make a note on the grocery list to buy zip bags.  Even when I am putting turkey into separate serving-sized bags, I won't need a 2nd backup.  Similarly, I like to have a spare tire ready in case I need it.  If a sniper quickly shoots out all my tires, a single spare won't be enough to get me going again.  I think the likelihood of such an event is low.  Low enough that I am willing to gamble that one spare tire is enough and that filling my back seat with more spares is not a good use of my money or car space.

You could say that backsup are a kind of insurance.  Insurance is not the most accurate word, though, since having a backup does not 100% insure.  It does not ASSURE that I will get what I want.  Auto or home insurance does not really guarantee I will have a working auto or a habitable home, either.  They are tools that will probably help keep my life going approximately the way I want but one can't really assure that anything will last or be available or go the way I want.

We recently read in "Everyday Zen" by Charlotte Beck (on Kindle!)  about a man whose house was surrounded by flood waters.  A rescue boat was finally able to reach him but he declined to board it.  He said that God would provide.  The waters rose and more of his house was submerged.  A 2nd boat managed to get through the even worse waters and reach him but you guessed it: he again declined and said he was relying on God.  The waters rose even more, covering the house.  The man was swept away and drowned.  In Heaven, he complained to God,"Why didn't you help me?"  God replied,"I tried!  I sent two rescue boats but you wouldn't use them."

It would be a mental sickness to try and have a backup for every possession and a plan B for every imaginable event.  We have to use our brains and opportunities as much or more than our backups and spares.  We have to recognize solutions and assistance, even if it doesn't look like we thought it would.

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