The end is near! We’re all gonna die! Life is an exclamation! This urgency has […]

The end is near!

We’re all gonna die!

Life is an exclamation! This urgency has been fully framed by the New York Times reporter whose essay “The Coming Collapse” declared: “It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion.”

We are informed that all of America’s decaying realities will implode. Now. Given no time horizon, I am quite sure this is true. Two thousand years ago, many fully expected the Second Coming of Jesus now, so devoted followers of biblical math calculated any number of times to be the End Times.

The same urgency was heard from those who lost when the current commander-in-chief took office. But before him, huge election swings happened, twice, and before that, our previous president won. Each time, someone was announcing THE END IS NEAR.

But we are still here.

We want meaning. Sometimes desperately so, in our personal lives, in society, even in the universe. We study things called “God Particles.” We “Make America Great Again.” We devote ourselves to Jim Jones, or veganism, or the Green Deal. All overshadowed by the ultimate stick of mortality: “Repent or Die!”

Since we all die, the stick is real. But since we cannot help but die, the stick ultimately has no alternative.

In this time of Lent, the hope of life after death is especially prominent. But the basic message of many a news article is “Do This OR YOU WILL DIE.” The message changes with those who see things differently, but the urgency is the same. Sign onto the Green Deal! Keep America Great!

We are told we are at one minute to zero on the Cultural Clock, the Biospheric Survival Clock, the Political Clock. Every day. It is a toggle switch: REPENT OR DIE.

The message of Lent is REPENT AND DIE (and live again, like Him).

I am not too excited for the dying part: I want maximal life extension, for as many years as the tubes and wires can give me, but the thing happening after that is simply unknowable. So you either have faith or dismiss. Or if you are like me, you trust you have no control over it and have faith in the unknowable.

No doom is knowable. None. In 1942 I would have bet the British would be speaking German in 2019. Now they can’t even speak Brexit. It is an excruciating piss-off that we do not control the next moment, so we scramble to control the perception of it.

Religion may be the worst of these, as it sets up a complicated set of measurables that earn you the end of your end: if you fall short, your end is infinite retribution.

Pretty much the same if you do not depose Trump, or coal, or meat. We all will be killed by our insufficiencies of wisdom.

I think we are killed by the fact that all life ends. And before the end, we can listen to who we are or we can scream as loud as we can. Or we can binge-watch, game on, mate, alter our minds with stuff we gorge upon, or simply love and be loved.

The beauty in life, the moments of love, light, sound, even smell and taste, moments that break the din or silence or fatigue are the moments we can see beyond the conclusions of fear.

To me that is God.

Note: This piece was written in real time, with no prep, as one of forty Lenten efforts written daily, in silence, on the author’s recumbent exercise bike. The others can be found here.


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