It's tornado season in Oklahoma.
I'm not sure that I ever get used to it, but I do get prepared, especially since I've survived one before.
The weather radio screeches at an alarming decibel when the warning is issued. The screech is followed by a robot sounding voice coming on over the intercom explaining exactly what the weather is doing and what we should be doing. Moments later I get a text message from the local weather station; a warning has been issued for our county.
I've been outside taking photos of God's extraordinary sky when it becomes clear that we may have to take cover in our neighbor's underground shelter, so I start the routine. I make sure I'm dressed in something other than my pj's, and I put on my boots. Boots are good for slogging through rain, mud, and debris. I'll be ready for anything. Once I'm ready, I get my things ready. I pack my briefcase making sure to include my Bible, my laptop and charger, my phone and charger, my wallet, makeup bag, and some important papers. I can't forget the proof of citizenship - just in case. I wasn't born in the US, but I was born to US citizens abroad. I bring my paperwork that proves this. I also grab my camera bag.
Once I have my briefcase and camera bag ready to go, I grab a few important items for safe storage in the hallway closet: my photos on disc, a few photo albums and books, and a few more important papers. I place these in the closet and cover them with pillows.
If we have to take shelter, I'll grab the two bags now sitting by the front door. I'll put the leash on the dog, and follow my husband across the street.
This whole process takes about 5 minutes, and I do it in advance of the arrival of every storm that could hold a tornado.
As I sit and look at the photos I had taken earlier in the evening, and I wait for the core of the storm to arrive; I begin to think about my routine and the items I've selected to save.
What I pack when a storm is coming shows a little bit about what is important to me.
My US Citizenship
My family photos
My photography in general
My laptop (which holds a lot of my photography)
Being able to connect with the outside world.
Putting on the best face possible.
I do all of this because I know of the reality that my home could be destroyed. It doesn't usually cross my mind that I could be destroyed.
And so today I wonder about how I am living my life in light of the fact that I'm not promised tomorrow. As I have cared for my elderly parents over the last several months I have become more in tune to my own aging. When I wrote my mission statement recently I included these words. "I will love others as if it is their last day on earth, and I will live with the reality of the brevity of my own life at the forefront of my mind."
Being keenly aware of the fact that the moment that just passed can't be regained should cause me to make wiser decisions. I'm reminded of the meaning of my blog title. A defined life has a deliberate form. It is not passive or without intent. I am choosing to live my life moment by moment and I'm beginning to realize that wasting time or killing time is far worse than throwing money in a trash can. Killed time grieves God, and it accomplishes absolutely nothing beneficial for anyone.
I'm challenging myself, and I'd like to challenge you, to spend our moments abiding in Christ. Living moment by moment in fellowship with Jesus will place us directly in the center of his will, our time will be invested in things eternal rather than thrown away to the distractions of the trivial, and we will soar.