The first time I heard the world was scheduled to end I was thirteen. I had just met a Jehovah’s Witness. Up until then my world according to religion was divided amongst my own Greek Orthodox family, the Jews who were predominant in my neighborhood and the Catholics who went to Our Lady of Snows. I didn’t know much about what Jehovah’s Witnesses believed or how it compared to the way I was raised. So I was rather jarred when my new acquaintance told me that according to what she was being taught the world was going to end in seven years.
Seven years! I was bit terrified. When I did the math I was even more afraid. If my simple addition was correct the world would come to a screeching halt somewhere around my twentieth birthday. As far as I was concerned I had not even begun to start really living my life much less be prepared for the demise of it. And then there was the question of what was going to happen to all of us if it was really going to end. It was all too much for my young and impressionable self, so I took the subject to the one person I was sure would make me feel better. My father.
I still remember the look on his face. Apparently my fear amused him, because he broke out into a big smile, laughed before taking another puff on his cigarette (my father was always smoking) before he pulled me into one of his famous big bear hugs and laid some truth on me.
“Honey, don’t you worry about a thing. They’ve been saying the world was going to end in seven years since I was your age! And it still hasn’t happened.”
My father had a way of assuring me like no one else ever has. I marched back into school the next day and announced to said friend that she was wrong and my father was right. So there!
She didn’t want to hear any of it, which I didn’t really understand at the time. It seemed to me that an assurance the world would keep on spinning past our twentieth birthdays was good news.
That experience taught me three things.
- There would always be doomsayers and they would never be interested in why their theory might be wrong.
- It was wise not to befriend them.
- A little humor and a smile is very reassuring.
It also colored the way I took in all the brouhaha that has been percolating around the Mayan Calendar ending today. If you’ve done your homework you know the “world ending” interpretation was a whisper down the lane version of the world as we know it. You’d know that December 21, signals the end of this Mayan calendar and the beginning of another. You’d know that many believe, as I do, that is the start of a new world order in which masculine and feminine energies will be in balance, and that is a good thing because if you haven’t noticed they’ve been out of balance for about two thousand years. That we are on the cusp of the promise of a more beautiful and enlightened future.
But even if I didn’t know all that I still carry around my father’s assurances from so long ago.
“Honey, there will always be people saying things like that. There are always people who want things to go wrong. You just keep smiling and remember it will all be okay.”
I imagine that right this moment, now that we've made it through to the other side of today, someone is concocting up the next dire prediction.
I won’t be listening. Instead, I’ll focus my efforts on what I can do to help create that better new world.