Remember last December 2009 – February 2010? It snowed or did some other freezing precipitation at least three times? And then there was the frigid weather from heck that froze and burst most of the water pipes in the City of Jackson shutting down everything?
Yesterday’s first call was “what is our office planning to do about the weather?” I laughed. I knew there was a chance for weather but we have a living breathing active plan so we do not have to do the “react” thing every time someone says “hmmm it may snow in Canton so we are closing all the schools and day cares” – yes that has happened!
Weather and the Legislature have a history (at least with me). Steve had the flu the first year we were married and I was running back and forth downtown to deal with Legislative preparation between Christmas and New Years when it was FRIGID outside and the pipes were bursting all over Jackson (there is a theme here – keep reading)! That was in 1989.
In 1994 or 1995, the House was gone but the Senate on a COLD and SNOWY Friday was still in session. Now they never admitted to this, but we had a problem with the weekly Senate expense payroll and I have always figured they were waiting us out (the checks were delivered and they did adjourn). I was sitting at my desk in the Barefield Complex (old Patio Club) with my gloves and coat on working with a couple of others on that problem. We certainly were essential that day.
In 2004, it was not weather but might as well have been. We were preparing for the Legislative Session and the entire Woolfolk power grid failed. Yep – shut the building down. Without power and even with generator power, there is not enough umph to force water up 15 floors. No water – no facilities. We kicked in our “git ‘er done” plan for essential services and while the building was closed, we met all our required deadlines for services.
Then of course in 2005 – there was Katrina. It was certainly not cold – far from it – but it was the single most focus altering event in my career. It was through Katrina that I began experienced the true impact of how important government is to our people. I also witnessed the difference in operating in prepared mode (MS) vs unprepared mode (LA). Katrina rearranged (as it should have) priorities for every public servant in this State. It also forced some folks to understand that you have to be prepared and not be hysterical in reacting to events. I have long been a proponent of that philosophy but was so sorry it took something as catastrophic as Katrina to put others into that mode.
All of these years, we have had miscellaneous water and power events. The largest of these was last winter when it FROZE here and the pipes burst all over Jackson – and nothing was able to operate (note earlier 1989 regarding frozen pipes!) As we were reviewing plans yesterday, I laughed and told our PIO that event was the only time I ever remember leaving the office and driving 13 miles home to use the facilities after 4 days of the port-o-let in the Woolfolk garage. UGH.
God spent a lot of time telling people to prepare. In the Old Testament, He instructed His people to prepare for battle, prepare a sacrifice, prepare the materials for the temple, prepare provisions for the exodus, prepare, prepare, prepare. Note there is not a single instance of “react react react”.
In this media centric sound byte society of ours, hysteria (thus reaction) is so much more prevalent than preparation. As we move deeper into 2011, my objective is to be prayerfully prepared so I do not end up in hysterical reaction. If prepared, I can cling to Luke 12:7 where we are reminded not to be afraid because God knows the number of hairs on our heads and reminds us that He cares for every single sparrow and cares even more for us since He considers us (made us through His death, burial, and resurrection) worthy.