The end of the world as you know it?

May 21, 2011

Surely sometime in the past couple of weeks you have caught mention of Harold Camping’s prophecy that the world is going to end at 6:00 p.m. today, May 21, 2011.  According to Camping, there will be a huge worldwide earthquake, people will resurrect, and Jesus will come down from the sky to gather up the faithful and leave the rest of humanity to slowly dwindle away.

Being Christian, I am familiar with prophecies of the Second Coming, and as I have watched the world become more fragile and difficult over the past few years, I have wondered numerous times what that day might be like.  Somehow, in my mind it always goes like this: I’m standing wrapped in a towel at the sink brushing my teeth (with toothpaste and drool running down my chin), when I hear trumpets in the distance and begin to realize that this day is going to be far different from any other day the world has ever seen.  I quickly throw on jeans and a T-shirt (probably wrinkled, because I haven’t gotten around to folding the laundry) and run outside to see what legions of angels coming down from the dawn sky look like.  That is as far as it goes.  I can hardly begin to imagine how the world will change after that (if I’m even around to see it). 

I know this much: I much prefer thinking of a New World instead of the End of the World.  Much more positive and thrilling, don’t you think?  Whatever you want to call it, will it happen at 6:oo this evening?  I guess we’ll find out soon.

What has surprised me most this week is that even if I do believe it will happen (and I’m not saying I do or I don’t), I haven’t made any kind of mad rush to “fix” my life at the last minute, just in case.  Turns out, I believe I am who I am choosing every day to be, and I don’t think a “deathbed confession” is going to fool God into believing that I am anything other than the sum total of my choices throughout my life. 

But I have asked myself, am I happy with that sum total?  Have I made choices that I truly believe were worthwhile?  Have I accomplished what I believed was worth doing?  Was the world a better place because I was here?  And did I even bother to make a “bucket list”?

Mandalas come from Buddhism; they are works of art created and contemplated as a focus for meditation.  Lately I have been working on a spiral mandala quilt that I have started to call Coming Back to Center (see the sketch above),  and (coincidentally) I expect to have the top assembled by 6:00 tonight.  Each time I sit down to work on it, I find myself thinking about all the things that clutter up my life and eat up my time, things that I’m constantly trying to “get out of the way” in order to do something important and soul-satisfying that I want to do.  But I find myself asking “I’m getting all this ‘stuff’ out of the way so I can ____________.  What is the __________?”  Sometimes it is the creating, the quilting itself.  Sometimes I find I am still searching for an answer.  But what I do know is that the hours I spend quietly sewing on this project have become a treasured time of contemplation.  I find myself gathering my energy within and calling upon the power of the Divine: I am imagining a New World I want to create around me.

So whether or not the Second Coming happens at 6:00 tonight, this week has become a time to ask myself what is at my center.  What do I long for, but have put off starting because I was distracted with other things?  How do I want the New World I create for myself to be?  Tonight at 6:00, I’m going to set some new goals, make new choices, call forth my best self, and start creating my own New World. 

I encourage you to do the same.  And perhaps to create your own “Coming Back to Center” mandala to help you make it happen.

Happy quilting.



One Response to “The end of the world as you know it?”

  1. Holly Watson Says:

    I have felt the same way so often myself, wondering what the WHAT is that I’m striving for. This year was filled with so many challenges to just hurry up and finish, which is not relaxing. So I think I’ll take some time to think about goals also, the non quilting part of my life, making more time for that and what’s important in my spiritual life, time for family and friends.
    Your letter was very thought provoking.

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