Or, What would I do with my last 10 Days of Life?
I grew up in an eschatologically minded church. We always liked talking about the End times. These Times were always very near and the world was full of signs of their coming, particularly if you kept your eye on Israel and the Middle East.
Then I grew up, went to college, heard everything I’d ever believed critiqued, and I forgot to be excited about the End times.
The End times didn’t make sense, because the book of Revelation didn’t make sense, because taking the Bible literally didn’t make sense because looking at the Scriptures as inerrant didn’t make sense and being a right-winged fundamentalist fanatic definitely didn’t make sense.
But when I believed in the end times, I also believed that Jesus was coming soon. He would rescue me from the world’s pain and suffering. He would right all wrongs. He would usher in His new kingdom, a kingdom built on the holiness of God and the love of Christ. Things would be better.
I never disbelieved this, or believed it was untrue…but I forgot to believe it was really truly true and extremely relevant.
In the process, I also forgot how to hope in Heaven. The mystical eternal realm of the righteous that may look something like a city in the clouds became far away and because it was far away it mattered less and less in the here and now.
There’s a critique of some Christians, that they’re so heavenly minded that they’re no earthly good.
I wanted to be earthly good.
I wanted this quite dearly.
I wanted to be good with the world because things went bad with the church.
I didn’t fit in with her, didn’t find welcome, didn’t find belonging. After years of struggling to make friends, find inclusion, and establish a purposeful function, a church I dearly loved cast me out because I was gay.
That was ten years ago this month, and I’m still trying to find my way back into her favor.
I’d say I’ve become a survivor. I know the language, culture and values of the world, my world, the world that God created and redeemed. I know the view of the church from inside and out. I know the hope of the Gospel and the dark side of Christian community.
What I don’t know anymore is joy. Or hope.
I’ve forgotten how to take my faith seriously, or look to the church as a credible source of strength, or to believe that Christ really is the better thing.
I’ve forgotten about heaven, forgotten to look for the End Times.
That is until lately.
Now I see what Jesus may have been talking about when He mentioned “Wars and rumors of wars.”
Global warming. Climate change. Food shortages. Over population. Building earthquakes. Unstable, unsustainable economies. Terrorism. Racism. Sexism. Division, division, division. People leaving the church, no longer paying attention to her. I read one article that theorized that Humans would go extinct within the next 100 years.
Once upon a time, when I believed in the End Times, one preacher interpreted the Scriptures to say that the generation that saw the fig tree re-bloom would be the generation to see the coming of the Lord. In this line of thought, the fig tree represented the nation of Israel, and a generation could be as long as 100 years.
Well…Israel did become re-instated as a nation in 1948 and…that’s still less than 100 years ago.
If this one fellow is right…maybe we could see the end of the world as we know it…
This is funny for me to write about because I’m not sure how much I believe it, and it’s not my study that I’ve done myself; it’s all long ago memory. But lately I wonder.
If the end of the world is coming, then how do I live now?
Do I keep my job and pursue all the credentials I can?
Do I save money in hopes of buying a house and having a retirement?
Do my partner and I try to have another child or two or three?
Do I pursue happiness and comfort?
Do I pursue legacy?
Do I pursue spiritual enlightenment?
Do I pursue social justice?
Really, when you think of everything ending, what is left that matters?
Faith. Family. Maybe physical health, but maybe not.
My values and lifestyle don’t match, because all I want is to write my story and watch my shows and have pleasure and comfort. Perhaps I’m afraid to face reality.
In my last 10 days, if I knew they were my last, I wouldn’t go in to work. I would sit with my wife on the couch and take her for walks and let her say all she needed to say.
I would hold my son and play with him and build him the most fabulous fortress made of pillows ever.
I would call my parents every day.
I would fly down to visit my grandmother, take her out to lunch.
I would write a little, mostly to outline what I always meant the story to be, in case someone is able to continue it for me.
I would not view any media.
I would take walks with God in the morning. Maybe, finally, I would learn to be still and listen to Him.
If those are the most important things, what is holding me back from doing them now?