Commemorative T-shirts for the ostensible Last Day On Earth are proliferating at a tremendous rate, which if nothing else offers further evidence that in this day and age, you can't have a message unless you also have merch. There wasn't quite that much activity for Harold Camping's two guesstimates for the End of Time, which I attribute to the tendency of contemporary Americans to believe any and all supernatural bushwah provided it doesn't involve that Jesus fellow, who was presumably very nice but his followers are just so awful and everything and want to deny people the right to screw whomever and whenever they want, which is, like, a violation of everything sacred, which maybe would have made sense in the twelfth century, but it doesn't make sense now.
Upon mostly-sober reflection, I can see some definite advantages to winding up this particular universe on the 21st of December, as allegedly predicted by the ancient Mayans, as follows:
On the other hand, none of these seem quite sufficient to justify, as Mr. Loaf once sang, "praying for the end of time." And while life throws me rather more curves than I'd prefer, the idea that it should grind to a halt for my convenience suggests a self-centeredness I'd like to think I don't really have.
And truth be told, I don't really have any idea how I'd react were I to hear the final trumpets sounding. I have a tendency to panic, but it's inversely proportional to the seriousness of the predicament: I lost more sleep over finding a spot of corrosion on a fender than I did over actually crashing a car. I am therefore trying to persuade myself that I'd take things in stride, that I'd be the one person not going berserk as the skies darken and the ground shakes. (Feel free to chime in with "Yeah, right.")
I will, however, be somewhat disappointed if, for whatever reason, I don't make it to the summer of 2015. By then, my finances will presumably be in order, and I'll have cleared the daunting 60-year marker, something I wouldn't have predicted twenty years ago. (I have had a long-standing tendency, at any age X, to anticipate my demise at some age X + N, where N is a smallish integer. Up to now, all these expectations have been wrong, but they can't remain so forever.) At one level, I'd like to hang around at least as long as my dad, who almost made it to 80, not in good shape physically towards the end but still tolerably sharp mentally. (The brain going before the other components counts as a Major Fear for me.) You might think that 62 would be easily attainable, but I can point to three plots of ground, each holding what used to be a sibling, that tell me otherwise.
Still, there's John 14:3:
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Two verses later, Thomas seems something less than reassured. Still, Thomas got a personal assurance (and a gentle rebuke) out of the deal, and I'm not one to think I'm entitled to better treatment than an actual Apostle.
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Copyright © 2012 by Charles G. Hill