Bargell: Coming together at the end of time
Ryan Summerlin December 25, 2012
The sound of my husband’s snoring woke me last Saturday morning, a not so gentle reminder that the world didn’t end, for surely there would be no snoring in heaven. My heart then skipped a beat because I was not certain of the status of snoring in the afterlife – had we travelled in that other direction? But soon the bustle of the holiday season enveloped me, and my thoughts turned from the end of the world to the end of all shopping days until Christmas.
It’s clear however that over the last several weeks the Mayan calendar, and how we’d spend our final days, has captured our collective imagination. From putting off shopping until we knew we’d see December 22, to watching the odometer change at 12-12-12, there’s been a flurry of proposed responses to the passage of time, and sacred dates. I’ve seen several thoughtful suggestions, especially in the wake of the Connecticut tragedy, including a demand that the world, as we know it, surely should end on 12-21, so that together we can usher in a new and better age.
Our oldest daughter was quite pragmatic about the prophesy, trying only to predict how many end days she might live to see in her lifetime. Our youngest, it’s safe to say, was pretty freaked out about the whole possibility. Maybe it had something to do with the fact she was looking forward to Santa’s visit only a few days later.
The predictions opened the door for discussion about how we would prepare, if absolutely certain that the end was imminent. After giving the matter some thought, and recognizing that my inability to stock our pantry for a snowstorm negated any potential for us to be true “preppers,” I could only offer her my honest assessment. If we the world were to end, I’d want us all to go out together, tenderly embracing everyone we hold dearly. After all, if they were going somewhere, I was pretty sure I wanted to travel with them. This simple answer seemed to suit her, and she commented she thought heaven would be pretty much like it was here – as long as we were together.
Her observation caused me to recall a long ago conversation with a pastor I sought out during a spiritual identity crisis of sorts. The answers to the questions I had received about God in my youth had become entirely unsatisfactory, and He no longer fit into the tidy box I had built. As it turned out, this particular man of the cloth didn’t have much use for religion either – at least not the kind where God took the “my way or the highway” approach. “So,” I challenged him “just how do I love God, if I’m not even sure who he, or she, is?” To top it all off, I added in exasperation, “that is, after all, the most important thing He said we could do.”
Apparently no stranger to mid-life mayhem, the pastor pondered for only a moment. “Perhaps” he suggested, “You should just try to remember.”
His reply was not what I expected, and it sure didn’t shed a whole lot of light, at least initially, on my pressing questions. Sensing my frustration, he broke it down further. To “re-member,” he went on, for us to join together in compassion, to heal fractured souls and wounded spirits. That might be a good start, he suggested, to showing some love for the big guy (or gal, as the case may be).
His words come to mind from time to time, and popped back into my brain during the conversations with my daughter. And, I recalled that re-membering should not be saved only for times of crisis, or when I think the temperature may be permanently on the rise.
It’s good to square off against the difficult questions. Better still when the answers are simple. End of the world? We love and remember. Tragedy that defies imagination? We love and remember. Snoring spouse? We love, and yes, remember.
Cindy Bargell is a mom and attorney who lives outside of Silverthorne, with her husband and two daughters. She welcomes your comments at Cindy@visanibargell.com.