Monday, May 23, 2011

Meditations on a World that Refuses to End

The end of the world is naught.
Turned out to just be a cameo by 'Thing' from the Addams Family.

Six in the afternoon came and went around the world on May 21st, and as near as anyone can tell nobody disappeared. There were no massive earthquakes. There were no piles of neatly folded clothing left outside the door of Harold Camping’s home in Alameda, California. No throngs of sinners desperately trying to survive an earthquake, or wondering where that nice gentleman from IT went. There were just people: some confused, some disappointed, some exultant in the downfall of Religion everywhere - as though this was ever anything more than a couple of people with a bizarre interpretation of a really old book, Internet access and a lot of money.

But most people were just mildly amused as they went about their lives on a beautiful day – in Chicago, it was a lovely but unfortunately “rare” May afternoon full of sunshine and warmth with a nice breeze. It was certainly not the type of day you would expect for the beginning of Armageddon.

So, here we all are still. Billions of people on a rock floating around a very large ball of fire.

Personally, I’m quite happy with the way things turned out – of last week’s list I was only able to hit ‘frosting sock’ and only the partial destruction of my enemies – but I have no interest in rubbing people’s noses in the fact that we’re all still here, stuck together. It’s times like this when the militant atheists come out of the woodwork and make videos about how great life would be if there were no religious people in the world.

No, I feel bad for people like Robert Fitzpatrick. Not only was he not raptured, but he was subjected to heckling by New Yorkers (a group known for the voraciousness of their mocking abilities), lost $140,000 of his life savings – note: he’s retired – and to top it off became the subject of a snide New York Post article directly mocking him. These are the times that try men’s souls.

How do you console someone excited about the prospect of the world ending? It’s a strange situation. I don’t know what to say, other than ‘Hey, at least you were prepared.’

In some metaphorical way*, the world ends every day. Tragedy strikes, people die, lives fall apart, people are fired, relationships crumble, things do not go according to plan. It’s just as important to meet those little endings with resolve, with faith that everything will work out, and with the grace to handle those situations as they come up. Whatever helps you cope – whether it be conviction that the world is literally about to end, or the comfort of organized religion or some personal philosophy, or just the lessons of having lived life – use it and make the best of what you have.

I guess it’s just a moody Monday around here. I did, after all, get rained on during the bike ride in this morning. Comedy to return later this week, or whenever the muse strikes.

*Danger: waxing philosophical.


Anonymous said...

Great post! Loved it. Thank you.

Edward said...

Great reading your poost