“It’s the end of the world as we know it ~ and I feel fine!”
The world has been about to end pretty much ever since a worried
proto-human went to bed worrying if the sun would come up again
tomorrow. Every culture has had its end of the world myths and
predictions and even today, we have the whole dreadful 2012 Mayan
calender predictions, not to mention intermittent fruit-loops
announcing the Rapture to brainwashed followers.
In the run-up to the Millennium, folks worried that computers would
simply not cope with the change of date and would send everything
into free-fall. I had a friend whose job for that year was ensuring
that various systems were definitively Year 2K compliant and I
confess his dire predictions of chaos gave me a few shivers of doubt.
But I generally have a stock of basics in the house in case of
illness, power cuts and water shortages, and I’ve always figured that
if things are sorted after a few days, not having enough baked beans is the least of my problems.
But it’s not that sort of end of the world I’m really talking about. It’s
a bit more personal really. You know when your own world suddenly
changes so dramatically that it becomes unrecognisable? When you
simply cannot see any future at all? When things you thought
permanent vanish like the dew on a sunny morning, and leave no trace?
If you’ve been through something like that, you’ll know precisely what I am talking about. Roughly five years ago, this happened to me. Our whole life was thrown into complete uncertainty and nothing I’d thought fixed remained so. It took me six months after our move to our current location to get past this sense of my world ending. More recently, things I thought fixed in my life ceased to be so, and it threw up a lot of questions about both past and future. It also
caused me a lot of sleepless nights, anxiety and tears.
But if you examine any of the end-of-the-world myths, you will find they are almost always end of A world stories. Even the bloody mess of death and destruction that is Ragnarok, that Norse apocalypse, has a rebirth at the end of it. The world is recreated. After the Flood in the Old Testament, the world is reborn.
So it is with our lives. We stare in devastation at the ruins of our old
life, we rend our clothing and we sit in mourning. But eventually, we
get up again and we rebuild. Even when it feels futile, we rebuild
and we start again. We learn from our disasters, and we become wiser and more able. The saying, “that which does not kill you makes you stronger,” has some merit. Scar tissue, as I have said before, is
actually stronger than the flesh around it, though it is not as
I belong to the Scar Clan, that band of untold women and men whose scars proclaim them as survivors, those who rebuild when the world around them has ended. I may weep, and I may mourn, but even as I cry, I am starting to look at the wreckage and see not simply ruins but space to build, and start again.
(the following song rather sums up how I feel about it, some times!)