I have been watching the news since early last evening and I have been overwhelmed with emotion about the hundreds of stranded vehicles on the roadways, including school buses with children on board, and cars filled with elderly drivers, mothers with small children, due to this snow storm. Some children stranded at school because they couldn't get home. Parents unable to get to them. The temps, among the lowest in our history. Cars running out of gas, because of log-jammed highways due to massive amounts of accidents, and stalled cars. Highways in every direction were experiencing this tragic situation. I have been praying for all on the roads, stuck behind abandoned cars, people setting off walking to a nearby hotel, gas station, or anywhere for warmth. Here I watch from my couch under my quilt, taking pictures of the snow and watching safely from my home.
Warnings came the day before the snow that would hit near Atlanta, but we are a bit cynical and seemed to scoff at the potential of any real difficulty. The weather announcers told us that it would happen, though not sure of the exact lines of the storm that was headed our way, they warned us of the storm headed our way. Still we moved at our regular, breakneck pace, quite arrogant and self-assured. Not taking heed at all.
So when the snow actually began to fall we were shocked. At first, loving the fluffy white beauty of it all. Soon wondering IF we should do something about it - maybe close up, head home, end meetings early, but still unaware of what was ahead. I closed our office and sent everyone home at 1pm. I'd rather watch from home and be wrong, then to venture out and be wrong. I'm a chicken. I hate the cold. I admit it.
As our world became a virtual ice rink, we ALL AT ONCE decided we needed to head home NOW! The result: Gridlock. Every street, every intercections, every highway - all of Atlanta headed out. Soon accidents filled the highways and the flurry unfolded, and even the snow equipment and emergency vehicles couldn't do their jobs. What if: we had heeded the warning throughout the day, or planned better the day before, or not been so cynical or arrogant that we could handle it? What if: we had accepted the fact that we are no match for icy roadways, or that what we were doing wasn't as important to finish as getting our family together and head home. Why do we wait until we are in trouble to make changes? Why do we ignore warnings, instead of heed cautions for our health, wealth, or spiritual condition? What is most important to us?
I know one young lady (one who was a part of my Mentoring Women/Leading Ladies 2008) who was texting and facebooking from the road with her infant daughter from the roadway. Her daughter, screaming in the backseat, out of food and water after being stranded for nearly 8 hours with no end in sight. She said: "Stay home they said. It's gonna snow they said. Why didn't I listen??!! " 9 1/2 hours later she made a 25 minute drive. She and her precious daughter are safe and now eating their two missed meals, but many, many others are still out in the cold.
A heart attack often adds years of life to those who heed the warning it gives. Why does it take that extreme to wake us up to healthy lifestyle choices? A bankruptcy often educates with its painful circumstances. Why do we allow our choices to get to that point before we see the pain we are causing ourselves? The most important decisions are our spiritual decisions. Let's pay attention. Let's plan accordingly. Let's help one another.