Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The World Ends Again

We’ve been here before.

From Heaven’s Gate to Y2K, from the Jupiter Effect to Jehovah’s Witness, from Zombieland to The Terminator; history is dotted by (often absurd) examples of doomsday prophecies.

And so (insert yawn here) this Friday, once again the world is coming to an end.

What’s interesting, though, is the insanely wide range of reactions people have had to this piece of news.

At one extreme are the Preppers, folks who have decided that the world will end, and they will be prepared; no ands, buts, or ifs. Preppers stock up on food for months, hone survival skills and fortify their houses for the off-chance of, let’s say, a zombie apocalypse.

On the other end of the spectrum, meanwhile, are the people who have decided that the Apocalypse is a great opportunity to party the night away (“hey, it is the end of the world after all!”). Flyers abound for such merry doomsday get-togethers from those thoughtful nightclubs.


But maybe I’m being a little too hard on them. After all, at the very least they’re doing something at the face of imminent widespread death and destruction.

What about the rest of us?

Most, I guess, lie in the “I don’t give a rat’s gluteus maximus” category.
The average person shrugs dismissively: “what will be, will be”
We don’t know and/or care that the world will one day come to an end.

Here’s an epic line from Tuesdays With Morrie which I want to quote at this point, said by the author’s dying professor:

“Everyone knows they’re going to die…but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.”

Because here’s the first painful, blindingly obvious truth: You will die one day.

You can die a thousand years old (if those medical journals are to be believed), or you could die an hour old.
You could die as heroically as being hit by a bus after pushing a child out of the way, or as embarrassingly as slipping in the toilet and breaking your neck.
You could die as spectacularly as a soldier in a hail of bullets, or as quietly as an old man on his deathbed.

Which brings me to the second painful, blindingly obvious truth: you don’t know when (and how) you will die.

Yes, the world will end one day (third painful, blindingly obvious truth).

But when it comes down to it, does it really matter when?
You could very well die tomorrow, with the world going on its business as usual.

In the end, the question (addressed to myself as well), is this:
Have we prepared enough for that personal doomsday of ours?

Will you face Death and say: “I am not afraid”?
Will you look back at your life and say: “I have spent it well”?
And will you look ahead to the hereafter and say: “I am ready”?

For myself, to all those questions, my answer right now is “No”. And I want to change that by becoming a better person everyday.

I am young and naïve; but I think that’s an aspiration we should all share.

And hey, it’s not too late; the world hasn’t ended yet. ;)

[The time of] their account has approached for the people, while they are in heedlessness turning away. (21:1)