I was so sure the Mayans were right, I spent my last day on Earth cleaning cabinets and mopping floors. No, I'm not a compulsive housekeeper, bent on entering eternity only after completing every task perfectly. I spent the day that way because it was the last official day of my two-week vacation and I didn't dare waste it.
Now that 12/21/12 has passed without incident, I, for one, will not miss the ubiquitous "end of the world scenarios" produced by Hollywood, where man overcomes threats from every corner; no more asteroids on a collision course with our big, blue marble. No more 100 foot tsunamis tearing away every coastline on planet Earth; no more calderas consuming Yellowstone and burying the entire continental United States; no more modern-day bubonic plagues. Now, maybe, we can get back to the business of living.
I am a member of a unique generation. Raised in the shadow of mushroom clouds, crouching under a desk even I, at the tender age of 7 or 8, knew was a poor substitute for shelter, my generation has lived with the threat of instantaneous annihilation hanging over it every day. Each subsequent generation, including my children and my children's children, has lived on the same precipice of utter destruction. This precipice can be spellbinding. Admittedly, some cannot acknowledge that there is a precipice while others can scarcely think of anything else.
At last count, according to a blog by Joel Rosenberg, we have endure the carnage of 18 mass murders/murder-suicides in 2012. Each of them unique, each of them brutal, man's inhumanity to man continues to shock and astonish us, and it continues to explore ever-deepening levels of depravity. First graders? Firefighters? Movie-goers? What heinous crimes had they committed to earn such violent and brutal ends?
Or, are some so desperate to leave a mark, so desperate to matter in a world where nothing really matters, that they are driven to these dark evils, trading their souls for fleeting infamy?
The violence is dark, beyond comprehension, and we are left to mourn. And we are left to love a little harder, hug a little longer and cherish the moments of joy that have been purified by a baptism of tears.
Because no one is dead. Yet.
My 16-day hiatus from work was everything I prayed it would be, and so much more. I can think again. And, even though the Mayans' calendar was due to expire, I took time to fill out days to be remembered and days to be celebrated in our 2013 calendar, noting the many blank pages that wait to be filled. And so, our simple, peace-filled life, lived out through a breathing, growing faith, continues.
Although there were many goodbyes, because people die every day, do not be dismayed. No one is dead, yet.
Scripture teaches us in Luke 16:19-31, that a place of torment or a place of paradise is the destination for every man when he dies. It also teaches us that every man is destined to die, and after that, judgement, in Hebrews 9:27.
However, only after every life, every heart, every thought and every deed is revealed and judged, will any man truly die. This is the second death spoken of in Revelation 21:8.
Created man gives death too much power. Though the penalty for sin is inescapable, too many expend their life energy seeking to escape the inescapable. This is meaningless. We cannot escape, the penalty will be exacted, in God's good time. And, if created man dies in his sin, his life, no matter how well-spent, is meaningless.
Jesus came so that we could live and never die. If our lives are to have the smallest measure of meaning, they must first be lived through him.
"Because I live, you also will live." John 14:19 (NIV)
I don't have all the answers, but I know and love the One who does. Let's walk in his love and discover him together.