"People prepare. God laughs."
This past Wednesday I had scheduled my whole day around the idea of a terrible storm and then no storm was forthcoming. This made me think of a teaching from Rabbi Hillel in Pirkei avot, Ethics of our Fathers, that says. "Do not be certain of yourself until the day of your death".
For all that I think I know, moments like Wednesday come along to remind me just how unpredictable life really is. If any lesson comes from this week, it's the following: once I think I have mastered something that should give me pause for thought and examination for what else has the opportunity to be explored.
One particular lesson that the weather people taught us this week is that knowing what the picture is showing you is different from understanding what's going on. Fortunately, our weather people did understand what was going on and were able to explain the discrepancy between the picture and the facts on the ground: The temperatures were not low enough on the ground level to produce snow.
My take away from all of this is the following: There is so much to explore and understand on this planet that every day should be a quest for deeper understanding. Mark Twain once famously said, "good writing is never finished it is only abandoned". Similarly, I think the same is true for knowledge. We never can possess complete knowledge and understanding, we only end up abandoning it. Sometimes abandoning complete understanding is the proper course and other times it should be a sign for us to return to it later when we have gained the potential for new insight and wisdom.
Therefore, perhaps what this past week's non-storm should teach is: are there any things that we've left by the wayside? Are there any projects or endeavors that we've started which have since been abandoned? Perhaps now is the time to pick up old things long forgotten. Maybe it is time to get a new understanding and perspective on old things now that we are a little older and a little wiser.
Poet Rolf Jacobson's poem Sand opens:
"There is a precise total for all the grains of sand on earth,
as well as for the starry worlds above our heads
(supposedly the same for each), if only we knew it,
but it's more important to know that the grains of sand
grow constantly in number and the deserts are getting bigger."
(the full text of the poem can be found here: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/390357.html)
May we constantly be explorers as we grow in this world of uncertainty.