Is the world ending soon Miss?

eclipseThis question was asked of me one morning as I moved through the school – a bunch of girls, all around 14 years old, had obviously been sitting talking, and I would guess one of them had mentioned the Mayans. So they asked me if it was true, and I said I’d no idea.  This produced a shiver of reaction from them, so I pointed out that if it was going to happen there was nothing we could do about it anyway, so why worry?

Thinking it over later, I wondered if I should have been more reassuring; I can remember lying awake at night as a teenager worrying about things like that – I remember one particular phase where I would hear a dog bark and lie there convinced that all the animals in the country would soon have rabies and we would all be in danger from them.

And yet… what authority can I speak with to say the world isn’t about to end?  Just because the sun rose today doesn’t guarantee that it will do the same tomorrow.  Sure we can say that it’s all nonsense, that the world will continue just as it has, that every age through history has been convinced that its existence is at the edge of the world, but still, we don’t really know.

Would it be so bad if it did end?  Sure I’d be sad not to see how the story continues, but if the story ends there for everyone, what’s the problem?  No more struggling in this petty day-to-day existence, no more worrying about money or relationships, or work, or health.

I used to watch Home and Away, an Australian soap. Every so often a storyline would become really engaging, and I would give in to temptation and look up spoilers on the web.  Then I would read too far ahead, and with that power it would become too unbearable and I would stop watching for a while, because knowing what would happen but having to follow the story as it unfolds was too frustrating. Eventually the future that I knew about would play itself out and I would drift back to the programme again – until the next time.

In the same way, the world can sometimes seem unbearable, either because I can’t see any change coming or because I can.  We’re in a recession, people are struggling to make ends meet, there are disasters around the world in developing and civilised areas, disaster after disaster, negative story after negative story, pessimism upon pessimism in the newspapers, and sometimes I just want to be able to walk away from it for a while.

But life goes on, and until the day when it stops, either for me personally or for the whole world, I guess I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, one day after the other, and make the best of life, in that strange dual world when you assume every day could be the last but also that life goes on and has to be lived properly.


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