Your Stuff Isn't Enough to Save You
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal” — Matthew 6:19
Preppers love stuff, and many preppers think if they just accumulate enough stuff and hole up away from civilization they can survive anything. But a recent tragedy demonstrates just how unrealistic this is.
Spoilers: their new garden got destroyed as well. This is usually where I have a call-to-action to subscribe to Unprepared. However, instead, the CTA today is to donate to their GoFundMe to rebuild Jackson and Jordan’s garden.
So what happened to the new garden?
Eden 2: Electric Boogaloo
Jackson and Jordan are no-till farmers (Jackson is one of the founders of the No-Till Growers Podcast Network), so there was a lot of lengthy and painstaking work involved, starting with carefully laying out large black silage tarps over the future garden plots, which burned out the existing grass and weeds over the course of the summer.
Later, they came in to break up the ground and add compost and mulch to form nice, tidy garden beds. They also installed irrigation hoses to keep the crops growing consistently and to maximize their flavor (dry soil leads to bitter vegetables).
They quickly had beds full of some of the most beautiful and nutricious lettuce, chard, kale, spinach, radishes, carrots, and garlic. Soils in this part of the country are tough and rocky, which makes growing carrots difficult. But their carrots were long and straight and about as sweet as candy bars. The spinach was good enough—and filling enough—that I would eat some for dinner with just a bit of salt and vinegar.
The major finishing touch for the garden were the enormous polytunnels they constructed over the beds. The tunnels protect the crops and regulate the temperature such that they could continue growing throughout the winter.
The tunnels took weeks to construct. First, the frames had to be erected. Then the plastic had to be thrown over and roped down. And these tunnels are not cheap. They had about $10,000 in this setup. They opted for the most resilient tunnels they could find.
But all in all, this was a pretty flawless setup, right? Here they had everything they needed to produce large quantities of high-quality food year round.
Except God had other plans.
Man Plans, God Laughs
As you may have heard, tornadoes recently tore through the south. Areas of Tennessee—Clarksville, Gallatin, Hendersonville, and Nashville were especially hard hit. However, a small tornado also touched our little church.
The church itself is fine other than a busted light fixture. But we had a big mess to clean up Sunday morning.
The playset was wrecked, but it was due to be replaced anyway, so this is as good an opportunity as any. And the tornado ripped out part of a fence we had been debating removing anyway, so that just made the decision for us.
The most immediate problem was that several trees were down, some right across the parking lot.
So after a candlelit Sunday-morning service we rolled up our sleeves and go to work. Enough of the men brought chainsaws that the trees came apart toot suite. All the men worked on gathering up the debris while the women watched the children and made sure we had food and copious amounts of coffee. We managed to get the bulk of the mess cleaned up within an hour.
Oh, but those tunnels.
And the closer we got to them the worse they looked.
It was soon apparent that the tunnels were a lost cause. Jackson decided that the most important thing was to save the crops, so we slashed the ropes and plastic and got to work disassembling the wreckage with wrenches so we could cover the crops with floating row covers to protect them from the freezing cold that was soon to set in.
We finished up at about 4 in the afternoon. Cold, wet, and utterly drained, I drove home to a warm shower and peach whisky.
Sadly, the tunnels weren’t insured yet. Jackson told me he had the papers on his desk and planned to have it set up before the end of the year—well before the usual tornado season.
So there is a GoFundMe to help them rebuild if you’re looking for a charitable cause this holiday season.
Your Stuff Won’t Save You, but We Might Save Each Other
One of the themes that has emerged in Unprepared in 2023 is the importance of community, and this story is a perfect illustration of that. If our friends had been isolationists, they had all the stuff they needed to feed themselves and their kids. But stuff isn’t enough. It only gets you so far.
Stuff fails, for a variety of reasons. And stuff doesn’t do much on its own. The chainsaws were key that day, but they had to have skilled hands to run them—as well as hands to haul away the debris.
But also, on another level, people aren’t really enough, either. What we witnessed on Sunday was amazing. The bulk of the work was done in an hour, thanks to many hands making light work. But we’ve attended plenty of other churches where everyone would have left after service and left the work to someone else.
Community is more than just a group of people. It’s a shared purpose and a mindset that inspires its members to carry each other’s burdens. In a word it’s love.
The same building blocks that build a stable family or a fruitful community are the same ones that build a healthy society. Western civilization is desperately lacking in love for ourselves, our families, and our communities, and we’re paying the price in the form of addiction, despair, political extremism, and suicide.