I can’t believe I’m writing this especially on Mother’s Day of all days. I’m afraid this might make Debbie Downer look optimistic. I’m going to blame it on the times we live in and the state of the world at present though.
I hear people talking about end times. We’re having wars, shootings, conflicts, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, mudslides, fires, and it seems most of these things can be found in California alone.
After a short study of eschatology in sixth grade – yes, that young – I have shied away from anything resembling Revelations, or end times talk, but I do see where people think we might be headed that direction.
I have to admit though, that I have always had a morbid curiosity about the Doomsday Clock, so I did a little research. Started in 1947, the board has reset the hands approximately 25 times with an equal number of movements, forward and back. The board meets two times a year to discuss the state of the world and the position of the clock’s hands. I cannot imagine a scarier meeting.
In 1949, after Russia tested its first atomic bomb, the hand was moved from seven minutes to three minutes till midnight. In 2020, the hand was moved to 100 seconds, and in 2023 it moved to 90 seconds. It’s the closest it has ever been to global catastrophe.
Yesterday, an older gentleman introduced himself to me on the beach, and proceeded to share every opinion that he has ever pondered. He was explaining how Topsail Island worked. I suppose my 16 years of coming here weren’t enough for me to fully understand it?
I perked up though when he said a category five hurricane would completely destroy the island. I couldn’t help but think what if this is the last time I get to come here I wondered. It’s May, and hurricane season isn’t until September really. It could happen.
I guess I’ve been thinking about “lasts'' a lot lately. For example, this year was the last time Madi will live in a dorm. It was also my last time picking her up from college since she’ll have her car next year.
On that last trip home, traffic was heavy, and it was late, and I convinced myself that I was happy it was the last one. The conversation that accompanied the journey back had me rethinking that. I will miss being in the car with her and hearing her thoughts and hopes and dreams, all the current gossip, and her favorite music at the moment.
But what about those times when we don’t know it’s the last? I told you this post was dark. Covid took away a lot of lasts. Proms, graduations, football and a hundred other things. Kids who were seniors in high school left on Friday, March 13, and never went back. They didn’t get to celebrate or lament the end of school.
I was in the car when I recently heard Joni Mitchell sing the song, Big Yellow Taxi - “don’t it always seem to go / that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?” I couldn’t help but think of the inherent truth in that.
Tick, tick, tick… Just like the doomsday clock, we can allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear, or we can use it to live each day more fully, soak it up, as if it were the last.