Scarcity and Snowfall

We have the once in a blue moon forecast of snow here in my hometown. As I sit here looking out the window while typing this post, it is just now beginning to rain. We will soon see if those puffy white flakes will manifest in any significant way.

But they have been warning us about their coming for days.  Every morning as we’ve clicked on weather.com we’ve watched the little banner at the top of our page go from yellow to red alerting us of wintery weather heading our way.

Then yesterday it all got kicked up a couple of notches. The powers that be began taking the weather forecasts seriously and cancelled school and work for the day.  And that can only mean one thing here in the mostly warm, sunny south.

Cue the run on the grocery store.

Oh. my. goodness.  Once people start confirming a snow prediction and cancelling school, Southerners are like a stampede of cattle en route to the nearest grocery. And I confess, I was right there with them. (But it was my regular grocery day and we were running out of staples, mind you.)

Yes, as soon as I picked my kiddos up from school and we did the snow day happy dance, we drove straight to K-Roger without passing go.  Along with everyone else from the carpool line and half the teachers at school. We kept waving to each other as we gleaned milk and bread and hot chocolate packs. It was a little bit hilarious.

But even as I mocked the snow run grocery trip with my kids, I found my buying habits change. Even as I made my list that afternoon I had scoured the cabinets unusually thoroughly for what we might need. I checked medicine cabinets and toilet paper supplies. I thought about what food we could eat if the power were to go out.

And then I saw myself at the grocery reacting to the already almost cleaned out banana bin, “Oh no, do we need bananas? They are almost gone. I’d better get them now or else.” Like I would die if I went a couple of days without bananas. And then I watched as my cart magically filled itself up with canned goods and carbs. Some that I haven’t eaten in over a year (Paleo diet anyone?)

scarcity and snowfall

Our snow day supplies. Okay, the Spam is mostly just as a joke.

It started to make me wonder what in the world was going on in my brain. And then it hit me.

It was the fear of scarcity.

You see most of my days I live with the belief that I can gain access to what I need when I need it. If something comes in and threatens that belief, . . . bam . . my little brain starts freaking out and all of a sudden I’m stocking up on multiple boxes of cheez-its.

For us human beings have some deeply hard wired fears about scarcity. I guess it has something to do with surviving winter back in the days before the local market.

This fear of scarcity is just kind of funny when it prompts normally sane people to buy out all the gallons of milk in a five mile radius (What is our thing with milk anyway? Do we truly drink that much milk??) But the fear of scarcity can be downright destructive when it seeps its way into your daily life.

Once I start rationing out my time and love and resources to others, things get pretty scary indeed. My circle of friends, my joy, my world gets smaller bit by bit.

The book I’m reading with my husband, Mindfulness: An eight week plan for peace in a frantic world by Miller and Penman talks about this. They describe a study where two different groups work a maze puzzle. One group helps the mouse get to the end of the maze to win some cheese and the other group tries to help the mouse escape an owl. The group helping the mouse to find cheese scored markedly higher on a creativity test given immediately after the maze puzzle than the owl fleers did. Why?

Because fear shuts us down.

To some degree we were made this way so we could survive big moments of danger. When escaping a fire we don’t really need to be thinking of the most creative way to leave a burning building, we need to get out quickly and efficiently.

But in this frenzied world where danger can seem to lurk at every turn, the fear can overtake us and hurt way more than it helps.

Because though fear has its place, we were not meant to live in fear. We were not designed for scarcity, but for abundance.

I thought about this as I ate my mexican chicken salad this afternoon. Even with all my planning and scouring of cabinets, of course I forgot the guacamole. At first this scarcity of Guac sent me into a little panic (I can’t go out to the grocery again, will they even have avocados anymore?). Then I took a breath, squirted on a bit of ranch, and moved on.

For my life is not meant to be ruled by fear or lack. It is made to be lived in love and abundance.

And a little ranch won’t kill a paleo girl once in a blue moon on a snow day.

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