So, here we are, facing the end of the world (again). What to do?
I will avoid the jokes about those who have stockpiled food, joined cults who convinced them that they were the only way to avoid sudden death, or those who hiked to far off mountain tops in France or Peru hoping to meet aliens who would sweep them off to a planet where all would be well… After all, I’m sure there are lots of people who have dedicated their entire day to making others laugh with punch lines they’ve worked long and hard on.
Luckily, the Mayans were right on one count: the world didn’t end today (—yes, most people miscalculated). I am hoping though that instead of worrying ourselves silly about what the exact date is for the end of time; we will instead focus on what matters: HOW we are living each of those days that we wake up and have opportunity.
Look, none of us know when the world is going to end. But, I suspect we’ll have a little better clue than a pretty, round calendar which even the Mayan people says doesn’t mean the end of the world; but the end of an era. To be honest though, even as a Christian woman, I hope that the Mayan prediction is right. I hope this will be a new era. One in which we think of others before we think of ourselves. One in which we think about the impact of our actions and choices before we decide even the simple things. I hope that we have used this opportunity to think about the fact that anyone can die at any time. For some, it is a tragic accident or disease that no one can cure. But for others, it is ultimately poverty that causes their death. Whether they cannot afford to eat healthy food, have access to clean water or pay for medications which would be readily available (and sometimes free) if they lived in another part of the world. Some will die because they had the misfortune of being born a girl in a land where women aren’t respected. Others will be killed for their religious beliefs, their desire to speak the truth or because they hold hands or kiss someone before they are married. And yes, many will be killed before they are born because they have the misfortune of being a girl child in a nation or culture which has a preference for boys. Still others will live, only to be denied the most basic of human rights.
Well, today you and I are given an opportunity, as we have been given every day thus far: We have the opportunity to make this day matter. Whether by a gesture, a donation, or just the way that we choose what gift to offer to a friend, what food to feed our own children or what words we speak… we have a great opportunity to become the “New era” that people are talking about in the Mayan culture. Ultimately you see, we are all people and we could all use a new era: One in which we put others before ourselves. Not in that awkward “New Age” mumbo jumbo kind of way which implies we all have to dress like hippies or risk being called hate mongers. But, rather in a concrete manner which creates, choice by choice, word by word, a new lifestyle. One where we enjoy life every day and work toward helping others enjoy their lives too.
I’m not talking about religion or telling you to change your belief system. I’m saying this: There were millions of people discussing this latest round of doomsday predictions. Heck, I think that in 2011-2012, the world “ended” 20 or more times, right? Well, I can’t help but think that if just half of those people talking about it decided to instead spend the same amount of time living as if it might actually be true every day of their lives… there would be a lot less suffering in the world. At times like this, I keep coming back to the tune that so many of you already know:
Some of you might know that country song by Tim McGraw called “Live like you were dying”
I’m going to spend today like I spend most of my days: Living like I were dying… and like I am able to prevent someone else from dying through my choices. I’m dropping off a couple of Christmas gifts to friends that are gift baskets full of organic and fair trade items that they can enjoy with their families. I’ll touch base with the cooperatives that I work with and see if I can be of service to them today. I’ll talk to a lady I know who is having a tough time this holiday season because she is alone. I’ll drink another cup of fair trade coffee from Zimbabwe and pray for the farmer’s hands who picked the beans. I’ll connect with friends on Twitter and Facebook and I’ll thank God that I’m here another day to do it all. Then, tonight, I’ll hug my family members and tell them how grateful I am for their love and support.
Then, if the sky really is falling: I won’t care. Because worse than death, is regret. And I won’t have any of that to freak me out. I’m really far from perfect; but I’m trying to live a life based in love for others and appreciation for what blessings I have.
If you are celebrating Christmas soon, I wish you a very merry Christmas. If you are instead Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist or of another faith… I wish you the very brightest and best New Year to come. And I sure am happy to know that we have the opportunity to build a new era together. I am sure we can do it, one kind gesture, one loving word and one responsible decision at a time.