I hear the world is supposed to end on May 21st. People have stopped paying their mortgages, abandoned plans to attend medical school, and moved to join the Armageddon think tank somewhere in Tennessee, I believe. I’ve been telling my friends the end is near, and thankfully, they’ve reminded me of other projected days of reckoning and dismissed the notion as unlikely.
I used to not mind that the world would end except I really didn’t want to go to hell. When I was in first grade, one of my teachers told me that hell was like the flume rides in Adventure Island except the flumes were laced with razor blades. The flumes of hell would dump me into a pool of vinegar and the current would be so strong that it would force me back to the top of the flume to be sliced and vinegar-dumped again and again and again. That’s what you get if you don’t believe in Jesus, little girl! Oh, to the altar, I went. You betcha.
Some of the funniest, nicest, smartest, morally-compassed people I know are certain there is no God. Certain in a way that doesn’t sound defensive or scared or combative—just certain. I have wanted them to like and respect me because I like and respect them, and so I have tried to be clever and ironic about demonstrations of faith. But, irony makes me tired and I make cleverness sound cynical.
Besides that, I believe and can’t figure out how not to. Still, I like Earth and don’t understand why people are so anxious to leave it. What I like about Earth is seeing my little baby use gentleness to make friends; I like the color of Aaron’s eyes and the way it’s hard for him to be funny around people but not me; I like conversation that isn’t trying to end; I like the way light and dark matter in Alaska; and I like stripping Clara down to a bib so she can cover herself in blackberries.