As I sat outside watching my children happily play among the budding spring foliage this past weekend, it was hard to imagine the horror and destruction occurring on the other side of the Earth. Last Friday, as we all know, there was a devastating earthquake followed by an even more devastating tsunami in Japan. They are now also facing a future filled with nuclear uncertainty, something even more frightening to add to the mix. Being here, in our little town of Chester, we can feel very safe and protected however when natural disasters occur it makes you realize just how vulnerable you are.
As a mother of two young children I have to keep a clear head when disaster strikes. It’s easy to let my mind “go there;” there, being the place where I am picturing my children wandering aimlessly down destructed streets looking for someone to take care of them because we are nowhere to be found (as in no longer in this world). It’s so easy to become anxiety-ridden, wondering how I can prepare for disaster and so peaceful when I realize that I cannot.
The Monday after the disaster, I was a ball of tension – filled with anxiety. I came home and wondered aloud to my husband, “If Iwanted to start buying canned goods just in case, would you think that I was crazy?” I was imagining all kinds of horrible things happening and kept coming back to the same nightmare, the one of the children wandering alone. My husband happily agreed to the canned good idea but I am sure it was only to help ease some of the worry that was coursing through my body and very evident on my face.
The news is rampant with dooms-day predications and spotlights those who are “preparing” for the worse case scenario; buying canned goods, bottled water and iodine tablets, some folks are even building bunkers. As we look back through our history, this compulsion to “be prepared” is ongoing; fall-out shelters, plastic and duct taped windows and doors, basements full of canned goods long expired and bottles of stagnant water. It seems as though we just can’t accept that if the end is here then none of those things will help.
If the time comes for the Earth to change, we have no control over it. I believe that is the most frightening thing for most of us, we do not have control. It is not for us to decide when the Earth will shake and expel massive amounts of energy. We don’t get to “prepare” for 45 ft. walls of water that rise up and swallow parts of the Earth whole. We don’t get to do anything except try to survive it and then subsequently help put everything back together again. Even while knowing this, it doesn’t help quell the feelings of despair for those in Japan. My heart aches for them as I watch their struggles on the television and I can only hope that if the same thing happened here we would be able to handle it with the same quiet strength and grace that the Japanese have rendered.
The media – what can I even say about them. While there is an abundance of news coverage (and why not, we can’t keep our eyes off of the horrifying images) there are some shows that are sensationalizing the fear factor for the United States. They have every dooms-day predictor on air telling us that the Earth’s destruction in 2012 is starting and we all need to prepare now! Their counterparts are telling people to buy up the iodine to prepare for nuclear fall-out on the West coast and don’t forget your Geiger counters to see if radiation is in the air (and how is knowing your being exposed going to help you anyway, it’s already happening by the time your fancy equipment reads it in the air). In reality they’re just trying to scare the you know what out of people and it’s working. Most of us are scared to death but, hey, at least the economy will get a boost when we all start going to Costco to buy up all the bulk items needed to “survive” the end.
Do I think that the end is near? Maybe, I’m not sure and neither is anyone else. No one knows when it’s going to happen but for one thing I am certain, the Earth has a mind of it’s own and we do not control it. My faith has allowed me the peace of mind to know that I am not in control but I know who is and it’s all in His hands. That brings me back to reality, the reality that no matter how many canned goods I have it’s not going to stop what was set in motion the day that the Earth was made. I am not worried about “surviving” the End because, as I have stated repeatedly, I do not have control over the workings of this planet.
Isn’t it ironic, surviving the End? The one thing most of us are hoping to achieve by stocking up and “preparing”. In novels what comes after the End? Nothing, absolutely nothing so what makes civilization any different. If it is the End then that’s it, nothing else, poof we are all gone and for all of our sakes I hope it’s fast.