They were everywhere in New York, especially on the street corners, mainly oldish men in bad suits, wild-eyed and serious of mien, holding hand-drawn placards urging everyone to repent.
Or maybe it was the same man, and I just kept seeing him in different places.
Or maybe I was just stuck in a bad sci-fi movie.
It's End Times again.
I seem to remember that one of the many Raptures predicted in my lifetime came right before my 17th birthday. This time, though, I've put my foot down and said forget it. I want my birthday cake Sunday. You'll have to Rapture without me.
(The son quipped that everyone who doesn't have a date for Prom may now no longer have to worry.)
Whatever my own belief system, I feel fairly convinced that my idea of Heaven isn't quite the same as that of folks who are campaigning for the Apocalypse. I find, in particular, their lack of humility disturbing and their absolutism odd. For people who claim to hold the Bible as it is written in such reverence, they seem to be making up an awful lot as they go along. God, in his own words, as they apparently believe, was a pretty straightforward God: do this. Don't do that. Yeah, someday the world will end.
No one of us is guaranteed a tomorrow. Isn't the challenge to pick ourselves up every day, to find the beauty and goodness in front of us where we can and to make more when possible? Why waste the time and energy on meaningless calculations when you could really be doing the work of the God you claim to hold in such esteem? What are you going to do Saturday evening when Jesus appears before you and says, "Instead of sitting around with a slide rule trying to divine mysteries that are my purview, why weren't you out feeding the hungry, comforting the sad and nursing the sick?"
Those men on the street corners in New York? They didn't look happy. They didn't look like people who were planning on Heaven as a place of comfort and love. They looked judgmental, condemnatory, and like they were already in Hell.
So, what comes after May 21? For me, cake. While the self-righteous are being sucked up by their Heavenly vacuum-cleaner, I will be prepping for cake. And more trials. And more joy. And beautiful days. And hard days. I'm a glass half-full kind of girl, and if I am here for a reason, it's to perpetuate the good for as long as is given me.
And while we're at it:
Because it's good to be prepared.
Go listen to some good music: "Rapture" from the album Autoamerican by Blondie.