As though the 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan wasn’t catastrophic enough, now we have the escalating problems at the nuclear reactor plants. They seem to be toppling like dominoes. The round the clock coverage, the mounting death toll and the uncertainty about how the reactors will be brought under control is creating an aura of fear.
Is this the end of life as we know it? Oh yeah, and we have a supermoon happening on the 19th and who knows how that will affect our little planet. Will it spawn even more earthquakes and tsunamis?
It would be easy to have a personal meltdown with all this bad news and I certainly am not making light of the situation. Perhaps I’m just jaded. When it comes to waiting for the ‘end of the world’, I’ve been there, done that.
First of all, anyone, like me, who was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness lived with the constant threat of Armageddon. Not only would all of mankind, except for Jehovah’s Witnesses of course, be wiped out at Armageddon but prior to that we’d all suffer through The Great Tribulation. Even though we were trained to look forward to that mass destruction so that the ‘new world’ could be brought in, it was difficult to welcome such a horrendous frightening thing with the knowledge that all your ‘worldly’ friends and family would be eradicated. Every thunderstorm or any government uprising in any part of the world was seen as the harbinger of Armageddon.
To make it worse, 1975 was then decreed as the year for Armageddon. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, which is the organizational godhead of Jehovah’s Witnesses, now denies that they ever said 1975 was ‘the year’ but as someone who was there, I am here to say that ‘yes they did!’. People, including my friends, quit jobs and school to become full-time ministers or to just hide out till it was over. Couples put off having children, waiting for the ‘new world’ to arrive. Everyone who believed it put life on layaway. And then 1975 came and went and…..? Nothing. Nada.
Then there was Y2K. Remember that? As a business owner with government contracts at the time, I had to spend a chunk of money to make sure all my computers were ready for Y2K. I also bought flashlights and big jugs of water, just in case. Morning of January 31st, 1999, I watched as the New Year was celebrated in Hong Kong and Sydney. Big celebration. No meltdown. Then Europe. Same thing. Then I went out and celebrated. Y2K came and went and…..? Nothing. Nada.
Recently, a precocious twelve year old asked me what I thought of 2012. I replied, “I have no idea. Anything could happen.” Based on experience, I wouldn’t be surprised if December 21st, 2012 comes and goes and…..? Nothing. Nada.
Now the threat of nuclear meltdown is potentially looming. Just like H1N1 last year and SARS a few years ago. There are always threats and things to scare us. Not just big things. I could just as likely, even more probably, get hit by a bus on my way home from work.
So for me, I no longer fear the big events. Rather than waiting and expecting a big catastrophe, I have decided that it’s more important to recognize the value of each and every day, because each and every day, each and every minute for that matter, could be the last.
Just as there is no value to living in the painful past, there is no good to be had by living in the scary future and anticipating the worst. I am not suggesting that we live in a little bubble of bliss and isolation. I am getting involved in local fund-raising events for Japan and sending thoughts of healing and calmness to those affected. But I don’t intend to waste this wonderful present moment watching television and renting out my headspace to doomsayers. I am choosing to make the most of the right here, right now….the present.