Thank heavens that last Saturday, I had a Christmas party to attend where real families and happy children celebrated each other’s company.
It was a moment free of violence, worry and fear, and felt like a breath of fresh air, a moment of the real, and an escape from a weekend of saturation news coverage of a national tragedy. I am thankful for that.
A week or so ago, it seemed like you couldn’t escape all the silliness over the December 21, 2012, end-of-the-world prophecies. Then, real madness happened.
Originally, I wrote this week’s column as a tongue-in-cheek look at the doomsday prophecies current as we approach the centennial. Just try to count the colorful concepts: The “13th Bak’tun” of the Mayan’s super-long 5,125-year calendar, or the New Agers’ cosmic moment of spiritual awakening.
But the thing is, there aren’t any signs of the end times, not in the Valley. And it’s wrongheaded to look at recent launch of North Korea’s ballistic missile, or even the Newton, Conn., massacre, truly evil as it is, as signs of the end. Apocalyptic, perhaps—that word means “revelation.” Indeed, I hope some truths have been revealed, about the fact that life is precious, and that we should bravely seize every day we’re given, and be more aware as citizens, not less.
I suppose you can always see signs of celebration and trepidation—end-times related, if you will—if you look hard enough. A few miles down the road toward Tiger Mountain, the Fraternity Snoqualmie nudist camp is hosting an end-times party where you can “Go out the way you came in,” in your birthday suit.
Our world and our times are constantly changing. Bold new initiatives have been passed in Washington state. We’ve got some big changes coming in our schools. Our cities are growing. It’s likely true that our weather is changing. Some folks might see the big changes in our lives and world as ominous—as omens. But how much of this is in the eye of the beholder?
We seek meaning and transformation in our lives, and that a magic day that could bring such things is something anybody might crave. But you have to make our own change. And that change, personal or public, from losing weight after Christmas to opening a local homeless shelter or a new kind of school, always brings positives as well as challenges.
We shouldn’t flee and bury our heads in fear. What happened in Newtown was incomprehensible and tragic. I have my doubts about whether gun bans or armed elementary school guards, or any tactic other than the slow approach of education about vigilance and nonviolence will make any difference in the long-term safety of our schools. It’s a shame on our nation that these things always happen in schools. Yet life, and learning, must continue.
When Dec. 21 comes, don’t hide in the basement—face the day. The scary, beautiful world will be rolling on.