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"It really wasn't that big of deal"

The snowpocalypse in the southern states provided a feast for the media of all varieties.  There were stories lampooning Atlanta and Birmingham for being shut down by a couple inches of snow.  Then there were response stories that explained that these cities are as prepared for what happened as New York or Chicago is for a tornado.  Much better were all of the Good Samaritan stories. One of the best I heard concerned sixty-two year old neurosurgeon, Dr. Zenko Hrynkiw. He walked the better part of six miles in the snow to get to Trinity Medical Center in order to perform emergency surgery.  It took him about two hours to get there (even though he received a ride from a drug rep for the last mile of his journey). What I liked the most (apart from the life that was saved), was his response --- “It really wasn’t that big of deal.”  Of course it was, but his words give you the idea he's not going to let this go to his head in an unhealthy way.

Most intriguing to me was an apology piece composed by James Spann, a meteorologist with the ABC affiliate in Birmingham.  Spann had predicted “just a dusting,” and as late as 10:00 on Tuesday morning tweeted, “we have heard of no travel issues and none are expected on a widespread basis.”  Ouch!  He couldn’t have been more wrong if he tried.

In his article, Spann took full responsibility, accepted all criticisms, and promised to do all that was within his power to correct things.  He said what bothered him most was the suffering that people had gone through --- children and teachers stranded at school, people unable to leave work or even worse, trapped on the road somewhere. 

He also conceded his inability to predict the future with complete accuracy.  “There have been bad forecasts in the past, and there will be bad ones in the future.”  Attached to this, were these thoughts on the humility that should flow from the recognition of our limitations.

“I have said this to both professional meteorology societies in speeches over the last two years. Humility is missing in our science. There are many things we don't know, and many things we can't do. Just about the time you think you are infallible, you will be brought to your knees. For the ones in meteorology and climate that say "I could be wrong", I will listen and respect their opinion. But, for those that claim no error, we all know their time is coming.”

The truth is humility is missing from many fields --- not just professional meteorology!  It’s missing from all who think too highly of themselves --- from the “me-ism” of so many celebrities, to the posing and preening by certain athletes, to the self-righteousness of some religious people.  Whatever prosperity, success, or achievement has come our way is due to the grace of God (1 Corinthians 4:7,15:10). 

No less a scientist than Stephen Hawkins confessed recently to his “biggest blunder.” The seventy year old cosmologist is now repudiating some of his ideas about black holes that were popularized decades ago in his book, A Brief History of Time.  Hawking said, “I . . . realized I was wrong . . . This was my greatest mistake, or at least my greatest mistake in science.”

How refreshing is that? 

Who needs to be refreshed by our humility?
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