Do you remember what it was like a few months ago? Almost everyone I met was saying that it looked like we were going to have a mild winter.
Some were talking about planting their garden earlier than expected. Others were thinking about completing outdoor projects that they ordinarily would do in the spring. Many were broadly smiling over our good fortune and counting blessings. With every passing day it became more apparent that we would escape the icy clutches of a harsh winter.
Then, one day, there was a drastic change. There was news of a major snow storm that would soon arrive. People were in a semi-panic. Many rushed to local grocery stores, and quickly grabbed enough provisions off the shelves to weather the storm.
I was one of those people. When I arrived at the store I found the parking lot to be nearly full. After I located a parking space, I entered the store and saw that it was absolutely packed. The aisles were difficult to navigate and the checkout lines were incredibly long. Thankfully, everyone I encountered was curious and polite.
I had ventured forth using my wife’s shopping list as a map. On that list were soup, bread, fruit, pasta, tomato sauce and other important provisions. When I finally arrived at the checkout, I asked the cashier a question. I was curious as to what people were buying. She replied, “mostly alcohol and junk food.”
This gave me pause. Quite honestly, I was a little dumbfounded, and I’m still processing the whole thing. I guess it all boils down to priorities. But beer and Cheetos?
Why on earth would a person rush down to the store, brave the crowds, and endure long lines to buy extra beer and Cheetos?
It just goes to show you that people don’t all think the same. When things change up from what is expected we don’t always draw the same conclusions.
God gives us free will to make our own decisions. I only wish that we could all make wiser choices when we see trouble coming.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.