The weather this last week should not have caught many of us by surprise. The forecasts for days in advance warned of “2-4” inches of snow, “4-8” inches of snow, “1-3” inches of snow with sleet and freezing rain... depending on whose broadcast you were watching. For a while it looked like we were going to completely miss all the frozen precipitation... but then, the white stuff finally happened... and stayed.
Wednesday saw most of the areas around Maysville as a virtual snowpack. Neighbors were sledding in the church building parking lot all day Wednesday. Late Thursday afternoon I went to the grocery store for Libbie. We needed ... absolutely nothing... but... I grew up driving in snow and I like to do it when the chance presents itself. My shopping list was really a meager excuse to get out of the house. I saw Tim & Mary-Gail there. I saw Justin & Malou there. Their shopping was like mine... an excuse to go drive around before the snow all went away.
But some people at the store were SHOPPING! Wow, one couple was pushing two buggies that were full to overflowing! Lots of people had HUGE amounts of food in their buggies! I was surprised and wondered to myself “how many people are they shopping for?” Maybe they’re expecting to be locked inside till Monday by the next round of “freezing rain” that was supposed to come in on Thursday-Friday. (Did it?)
A Forbes article said that people learn more from surprises than from when things are predictable. Well... that’s kind of predictable, right? (Carl Dorvil, How To Improve Your Response To The Unexpected, 2016). Another article, published by UNSW Sydney, questioned the panic buying during the COVID outbreak with a provocative title, “Why uncertainty makes us change our behavior (even when we shouldn’t)” (Sherry Landow, 2021).
Unexpected things do happen. But a LOT of things in life are predictable. It is possible to be prepared for a lot. “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thes 5:1-6). Some “surprises” should really not be a surprise.