Friday, June 10, 2011

How would you spend the last day on Earth?

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — As we now know, the world did not end last month.
But I’d like to thank Harold Camping, who’s now moved his end-game call to October, and his Family Radio multi-media campaign for giving us all something to think about and supplying a possible answer to a question I’ve been pondering for decades: Would today’s mass media cover the second coming of Christ?
Years ago, I was on a university panel in which veteran journalists pondered such questions, and I’ll never forget the comments of political reporter Sander Vanocur, whose resumé includes stints with the New York Times, NBC News, PBS and the Washington Post.
Here’s how, he suggested, contemporary journalists might cover another famous Biblical event: “Moses came down from Mt. Sinai carrying what he described as ‘Ten Commandments from God.’ Here is our correspondent with a summary of the most important four commandments.”
We all laughed and agreed that most of the editors we knew could not resist the urge to edit anyone; not even God.
But we also agreed that mainstream media would probably ignore the story, all together. That may have changed at a time when anyone can start his or her own worldwide information — or disinformation — campaign via the Internet and assorted social media. And anything can become international and deadly news in a tinderbox era when any religious claim, or even the threat of burning a religious treatise, can lead to terrorist reprisals, uprisings or all-out war.
Personally, I always welcome a good theological debate and I enjoyed the chance to contemplate with friends and colleagues this potentially revealing and enlightening question: What would you do if you knew the world would end in 24 hours?
I was surprised by my own conclusions: I’d do pretty much what I do every day.
Prayer would be a major priority among my friends who believe in God. Most of us pray daily anyway, but there could certainly be cause for some special conversations, maybe to ask for forgiveness, for more time, for ourselves or the world in general, or for a quick and painless transition.
But it would probably be prudent to limit it to a soul-felt “thank you” and a classic that covers all the basics, like The Lord’s Prayer, the choice of Jesus, who demonstrated He knew what He was doing when it comes to major transitional states.
I thought briefly about seeing if there was anything I could do to mitigate environmental damage, about cleaning up a little, at home and the office, and maybe organizing my books and papers and writing a final column about how some of us spent our last day. But if the premise is that the world and everything on it will be destroyed, why bother?
A last earthly romantic evening with your soulmate, maybe? A walk with family and friends? A dance? A tune?
Mundane desires don’t seem that important. Some of us would crack open that bottle of wine or eat that Belgian chocolate, but I’d just as soon give it to someone else who might enjoy it, content to test my son’s afterlife theory: “Heaven is a place where chocolate chip cookies aren’t fattening and no one has to make a living with their art.”
I could cash in my 401-K and fly anywhere and buy luxury items for myself and my loved ones. But I couldn’t think of anything we would want more than hugs and facetime.
I don’t fear death, but I’d look around and see what I could do to help make people who are scared and alone feel more loved and comfortable.
Many of the people I love the most live thousands of miles away. But I would definitely not want to spend my final hours here in airports or on planes, and probably most pilots and airport personnel would feel the same way and would want to be home with their loved ones, too.
I think my loved ones know how I feel about them. Most of my adult life, I’ve ended our conversations with “I love you,” but I don’t think it’s something you can O.D. on. I’d make at least one last round to tell them all that I love and have faith in each and every one of them, and God, and why. I might tell them what they’ve meant to me and share a favorite memory or two.
There would be no LOL texts or tweets, though. I’d do it in person, by phone or via Skype.
It wouldn’t take too long; I’d pray that, God willing, we’d all be able to continue our conversations the next day in the afterlife.
I wouldn’t say goodbye. I’d use more appropriate Spanish terms: Hasta la vista. And adios. A Dios. To God.
But of course, there is little in nature or the Bible to indicate that the whole world would end crisply, cleanly, with a bang or a whimper. More likely there would be a long series of messes and opportunities.
And maybe, if we plugged away each day, cleaning up the messes and seizing the opportunities, we could leave a world in better shape for the earthly journeys of generations to come.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style.

No comments: