So Doomsday, apparently, is in a few hours. I had a chance to google it late yesterday. The info was vague but the message, like those on torn boxes carried by a few homeless men in Manhattan, was clear: The end of the world is here. The good ones are being raptured. The rest of you will suffer an inconceivable death. Repent.
Thankfully, the time and date and year are provided so a handful of people have decided to throw "grown and sexy" (as per one post on facebook) parties but prepared to repent the very last minute and walk with ease into the Pearly Gates. May 21, 2011 at 6PM. Some people at my 2nd job asked me what I thought. One older woman, a bit panicked, seemed unsure about the lunacy of the whole thing and she wondered, what IF, what IF, Brooklyn was really going to be thrown across to California? What then? She seemed disheartened and I assured her that apparently she had plently of time to make it right with God and so, in essence, she was going to be just fine. "You're right, dear," she said but didn't appear any less worried. Then she pressed, "But what do you think, dear? What if the world is going to end Saturday? What do you think?"
I told her that I was going to be pretty upset. I had been studying for a Board Exam that would determine my promotion in September as a director of our ABA program (I didn't give her all that detail, but I touched the surface.) And then I told her that I had always wanted a Gucci bag and my 3rd job was going to pay for it but you know, these Gucci bags are made out of secret diamonds and it would take me a year of working before affording one so Doomsday could not, must not, come this weekend! I laughed, amused at my own ramblings and the woman walked away. I could hear my mother's rebuke, that I joke around way too much and I could see my brother, the pastor, and his pleading eyes for me to "please be serious for once" and finally my husband's somber face, reminding me that not everyone understands my humor. I ran after that woman and touched her arm gently. I knew that she was raised a Baptist and I had a feeling that if we grew up under the same spiritual tutelage, Doomsday was most likely used as a weapon to shape her into goodness. If she had not been in her absolute best behavior, May 21st quite possibly brought her much terror. I reminded her that no one knew the day or the hour. No one knew it. It was in the Bible, I said softly, loud enough for only the both of us to hear. The same man had predicted the end of the world more than 15 years ago and here we were still, we were here still. She relaxed and smiled, "You're right, dear. That is what the Bible says."
On the drive home in the BQE, where most of my random thoughts take place, I thought about the many things I would love to put on my Bucket List. Sky diving, going to India, learning how to ride a motorcycle (a fantasy I've had since I was a little girl after watching Grease 2), spending a day in a Tibetan village, etc., I chuckled at my own thoughts as I often do and then I realized that if I never get to do any of these things, it wouldn't really matter. But running my own school, getting my PhD., speaking at an Autism Convention, writing a best seller, are personal accomplishments that mean deeply to me.
This morning is the morning of Doomsday. I woke up before seven and as customary of my mornings, I went to the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. Hair wild against my cheeks and resting carelessly on my shoulders. It is a phenomenon because it is in the very early morning, upon rising, that I look my best. Maybe because I'm refreshed, maybe because the markings of the day's stress do not begin until 8 o'clock, or maybe because I often inspect my face in the mirror with the lights off in the bathroom. I met my eyes and a thought hit me: What difference have you made? It's not what you've accomplished for yourself but how you've touched the lives of others that matter when you're gone. I really do not like these moments but I do get them and in this quest for Virtue, I've had to confront these moments more than I would prefer. I thought for a while, jogging my memory of ways I've touched lives around me. Had I really made a difference? And I don't mean a difference in my nuclear family or close friends but those outside of my circle, outside of the people I see on a daily basis and inevitably give of myself to. Have I been a source of dread or hope? Have I extended kindness always, always, always? Has my existence made another's life better, happier, easier?
Hell no longer scares me the way it did growing up. It's imprisoning and haunting affect has lost its grip on me and so Doomsday whether today or tomorrow brings me no terror. But my markings on this earth, the difference I've made because I lived here, the legacy I leave behind is what concerns me more. To have lived and made no mark, no difference, is to have lived and not mattered at all. That's worse than any apocalypse that could come my way. I'm hoping a conscientious life of valour, honor and virtue would inevitably touch those I love, those I meet or encounter in passing. And then I thought, it would be a tragic irony if Doomsday is really today, now that I've been forced to do some instrospection and I've been discovering some deeply hidden things about myself. Because wouldn't that be the biggest catastrophe of all? To have lived my whole life not knowing who I really truly was and giving of someone I really did not know? And since I'm still trying to make it there, the end of the world can't come. Not tomorrow, not next year. And certainly, not today. Not yet. I need more time.