It seems there’s nothing like an ice storm to make a soul take inventory—groceries, emergency fuel, back-up heat source and so forth. Some would add reading material to that list. In fact, we have friends who made a special trip to the public library to stock up.
A week ago, our forecast for this past weekend including an indication that we might have accumulations of one-half to one inch of ice from the three days of predicted freezing rain. An inch of ice? In my six-and-three-tenths decades I’ve never experienced that. The half-inch we got across the Midwest about ten years ago left a swath of devastation that bumped imagination into actualization. Power lines snapped and utility poles broke. Branches dropped off like twigs and trees toppled into houses. It was the most widespread disruption of lives and landscape I’d ever witnessed but this one seemed poised to eclipse it. “Icegaddon” some were calling it.
Well, folks, there’s usually always some element of “Dice-gaddon” in long range weather forecasting. And, to some degree, even short term. Even with the most sophisticated modeling and the most accurate gauging, the forces of nature sometimes do not seem governed by the predictions of humanity. A hurricane may veer off in a totally unanticipated direction. A warm front may stall out over southeastern Arkansas. Apparently, there’s just no way of knowing ahead of time exactly where and when the fronts of our lives may collide.
“Prepare for the worst and hope for the best” seems to be pretty good advice, whether you’re studying for a Richard Adams biology exam or bracing for a winter storm. Go ahead and make sure you’ve got plenty of milk and kerosene on hand and for crying out loud, don’t get them mixed up. And if the folks at NOAA or Accuweather or Weather Underground happen to miss the mark by a hundred miles or a couple of degrees, don’t curse them too loudly or celebrate your own good fortune too glibly. While we experienced little more than the briefest bit of inconvenience, some folks are without power and will be for a while.
In addition to the whims of nature and the inexplicable shiftings of weather, I think there might be yet another factor that keeps prognosticators from batting a thousand. I don’t think their computer models have yet acquired the capacity to factor in prayer.
As for our own personal modeling, it should definitely be able to handle simultaneous compassion for the plight of others and gratitude for our own blessings.