In Illinois we are in "Tornado "Alley (actually a branch known as "Hoosier Alley" ), so sirens are an important part of our lives. When you hear them, you get your butt into the cellar (or other safe haven). There are three different reactions:
1. If you’d never heard the siren’s wail before, you wouldn’t know what to do, and might not react appropriately. You have to be taught.
2. If you were new to the Alley, but had been informed by long-time residents about the warning system, you would respect the storm, trust the system and run posthaste to somewhere safe.
3. Those of us who grew up here are another story. When I was a kid we once sat in lawn chairs in the back yard and watched one go by in the distance. You ask if you heard what you thought you heard. You turn on the radio or TV; you don’t want to go outside in the storm to get to the cellar if you really don’t have to – there are cobwebs, mice and icky stuff down there! If you’re a guy, you go outside and stare at the clouds for a while to divine the future. “Do you think we should go to the basement honey?” “Nah, it’s just a frontal down-burst!” (Our sturdy timber-frame barn was moved a foot off of it’s foundation on that one.)
While I’m wasting time weighing odds, one of these days I’ll find myself hanging with Dorothy in Oz. We remember all the times we went to safety and nothing happened, but when we don’t go to safety and something happens we don’t live to remember it! We become immune to the urgency, desensitized enough to lose our edge. The novice has fear but no knowledge. The fledgling has fear and knowledge. The worldly has knowledge but no fear. Our bodies are evolved to work best when there is a healthy balance of the two.
In how many other areas of our lives does this apply? At school: the lost sheep wandering the halls on their first day; the seasoned second-grader who teaches you the ropes; or the jaded high-schooler who snarls at you for looking at them. Or at work: the over-whelmed newbie; the “overachieving” up-and-comer; or the experienced system-surfer marking time.
What about at church: Seeker; Convert; Council?
What’s that? Did you hear something?