Monday, May 23, 2011

Left Behind?

So, I know that all the jokes about the apocalypse not coming after all are pretty old by this point. I mean, the supposed event was to have taken place on Saturday, so everyone has taken their shots, had their chuckles, and continued on with their lives.

But I still want to talk about it, so I hope you're cool with that.

On Saturday, while waiting for the Rapture, I was out weeding my garden. If that's not an apt living metaphor, I don't know what is. I couldn't help thinking as I tore knee-high weeds from the muddy ground, that I was creating my own little doomsday right there in the backyard. I was literally destroying a habitat -- in the name of creating something greater -- but causing destruction and devastation nonetheless. I watched the spiders skitter away and the worms writhe in their newly-upturned soil and I thought, I wonder if the bugs had their own little warning prophets of doom?

Side note: does anyone else feel morally qualmed while gardening? I know it's silly, but I do. I look at the weeds and I think, "How come this plant has to die? Because it's ugly? Because it has no use to me? Because I want it to?" I think that a lot about dandelions. Though the other thought I have about dandelions is "Just die already! Die, die, die."

But anyway, back to the Rapture. While I was destroying wicked weeds in my backyard, preparing fertile ground for useful vegetables, I thought a lot about Harold Camping. See, I was pretty sure that the Rapture wasn't going to happen May 21 at 6pm (Hey, I was right!). Something about "no man knoweth the day or the hour" seemed to be a strong indicator for me that either the guy was misleading or just misled. But still, I thought, maybe we shouldn't be so smug in our dismissal of the guy and his small-but-enthusiastic, van-driving following. Reports of rapture countdown clocks and flippant facebook comments got me thinking that maybe we're all missing an opportunity here.

Whatever you may believe - whether in an afterlife, a God, a resurrection, a blank and peaceful nothingness, whatever - the truth of the matter is that we all only get the one life. So when an opportunity comes along to evaluate it and ask yourself if you like who you're becoming, maybe it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. I thought a lot about that as I caked myself in mud in the backyard. I wondered, if the Second Coming were to happen that evening, or next week, or next year - would I be ready? At the end of any day, can I look back over it and feel that I am happy with what I did, how I behaved, how I treated others, how I spent my time?

So many days I feel just get wasted, mostly on this lovely computer, and I wonder what opportunities I am missing. What I will regret when it's all over. But I don't really think about it all that often: I just go with the flow and live out my habits and patterns.

And so I think a little wake up call every now and then is not a bad thing. A little Harold Camping-style pseudo-Rapture -- as misguided and eye-roll-inducing as it may be -- might just be an excellent opportunity to ask ourselves, "Am I living it right?"

Still, funniest thing I heard after the "Rapture" - a text conversation between  my sister (AJ) and my dad.

AJ: Did u guys get raptured??!?
Dad: What do you think? Of course we were taken up. Enjoy your last 5 months of torment. We'll be eating gelato here in heaven.
AJ: Well, thank God (when u see him) that there's 3G service up there!

Ah, texting from heaven. Technology sure has come a long way.


Austin said...

I don't feel moral quandaries at all when executing weeds. I look at it as preventative measures, kill or be killed. They're not being plucked because they're ugly or less useful, they're being plucked because they'll murder my plants without so much as a tear once I turn my back.

You make some good points, but Rapture or not, we all should remember we are human and we don't need a great cataclysm, for death may come this evening. (paraphrased from Proust.)

Shirley said...

lol I love the texting convo. I agree, that anything that makes you evaluate your life and perhaps change is a good thing. I definitely have so much to improve on... soooooo much. But I also get that same feeling at church every week. :) I'm very glad that it wasn't on Saturday. I'm definitely not ready. Here's to improvement!

Evan and Holly said...

I am not sure that I feel a moral quandary, but I do feel sorry about the worms...spiders be damned.

I agree about opportunities to evaluate our lives. I never thought of this as one, so thanks for pointing it out. What did you decide about you life during the opportunity for evaluation?

Jacob I. McMillan said...

I had to stop believing in regret years ago, because it's a bottomless pit. There's no end to the things I'd do differently in hindsight. Also, there's no way to prove anything would've turned out better if I even could do anything differently. All we can do is try to appreciate whatever moment we're in as best as we can.

I have to admit, every time an "end of the world" prediction is coming up, I get a little tense. There's always an outside (way, way outside) possibility one of these lunatics might be correct. My mind can't shake the possibility, however remote, probably because the world is indeed going to end sometime and why not now. Oh boy, 2012 is gonna be fun.

Charity said...

Austin - that makes me feel much better about plucking weeds - they're murderous! I'm defending, not attacking. I do feel a little better now. And yeah, my thoughts were sort of everywhere, but I was trying to get at the idea that the end is going to come for all of us, whether it comes all at once or individually, it is going to come. SO it doesn't hurt to be prepared and make sure when you die you can say, hey I liked my life and how I lived it.

Ha ha Holly - Indeed, spiders be damned. And I don't know that I came to any conclusions really in my evaluation - except that I want to spend more time with Isaac and less time trying to keep him occupied so I can search the internet/wash the dishes/read a book/whatever. He's only going to be little for a very short time... so I think I will really be sad if I don't live it up.

Jake - I wasn't necessarily advocating guilt or regret. Just saying it doesn't hurt to evaluate where you are going and what you are becoming. I'm glad I'm not the only one to get a little worried about these end-of-world predictions. And you're right - a whole year of that nagging wondering if maybe the doomsayers are right? Should be fun.

Christian and Jennifer said...

Loved your post and the comparison with gardening and "creating something greater." Well said, sweet girl.


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