We decided that, if the end of the Mayan long count calendar means the world ends today, we’d rather not face the music in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a wonderful city, of course, but we decided the end of the world requires something . . . different. Something . . . Caribbean. Something that allows us to greet the end of society as we know it with toes in the sand, cold and fruity tropical beverage in hand, and a view like this one in front of us.
So, we’re here in Antigua. where it’s warm and bright and last night we enjoyed this stunning sunset. I’d say we’re ready.
This afternoon I was working at my desk when suddenly it started hailing. What the . . . ? Pebble-sized hail clattered against my window, as an unexpected thunderstorm blackened the skies and pelted downtown Columbus. It’s the first time I can ever remember it hailing during the summer in Columbus.
A friend noted that it was continuing the pattern of weird weather we’ve experienced lately, with dust bowl-like conditions and scorching heat interrupted by brief, unusually powerful storms. And in America we’ve had a lot to deal with lately, from odd weather to mass-murdering nuts and racists to a bad economy and overwhelmed and under-performing political figures. It was almost, he said, like the end of the world. As he said it, you could almost hear the ominous orchestral music welling in the background, such as you hear in every end-of-the-world movie — and then we both laughed.
But people seem awfully skittish right now, and some folks might not laugh. They might interpret the unusual events and bad news as signs of something more, and fall under the spell of an apocalyptic cult leader or political figure. If you are focused only on the negative, you might see patterns in what truly is random. It’s not as if we’re seeing frogs rain from the skies — and even if we did, that’s happened before, too. And although the recent mass killings and political failures are terrible, the country has been through worse before and come out fine, and it will again.
At some time or another, we’ve probably all used the phrase: “It’s not the end of the world.” And it isn’t.
The Rapture is not quite the End of the World, however. As I understand the concept, The Rapture describes the event when all humans are judged and those found worthy go to Heaven. Some believers envision the process as involving people disappearing as they go about their everyday lives. (If it happens on Saturday, it won’t be a good time to be out driving.) Then, after The Rapture occurs, the rest of us apparently get to stay on Earth to deal with a period of disaster and chaos and turmoil before the world eventually ends.
Wouldn’t you know it? Russell is supposed to graduate on Sunday!