Betty Duffy

Monday, March 16, 2009

Zig Zag Wager

I’m tired of hearing the word “crisis.” Crisis. Crisis. Crisis. It almost seems like wish fulfillment. Everyone knows the dire situation we’re in. If I read the Drudge Report every day, I feel pretty certain the world will end before the year’s out. However, if I remain in blissful ignorance, the cosmos can cave in on me, take me by complete surprise…and I’ll be ready for it.

Yes, I’m ready for it.

Last week I was not ready for it. Last week I went to the store and stocked up on a thirty day supply of dry goods, because some preacher in New York suggested I do so. I made a special effort to talk to the couple at church who have made known that they have an underground bunker on their property. Last week, I argued with my husband about saving every dime we earn rather than continuing to invest in our plummeting mutual fund.

He said, “When everyone else bails, we’re going to buy. When they zig, we’re going to zag.”

“But we need to put away some cash for the apocalypse," I said, picturing my family, having been looted of the little we’re worth, chained in someone else’s pantry, waiting to be cannibalized a la Cormac Mc Carthy’s The Road. (HATED that book, by the way. Very bad feelings.)

“Oh, you’re right,” said my husband. “I forgot to factor in the apocalypse when I was doing the budget.”

For the first time in my lifetime, I have been existentially afraid. The worst thing about my fear is that I really love my life right now. Everyone goes through dark and light phases in their lives. The miracle of my current existence is that I’ve suddenly, for no apparent reason, become satisfied with simple pleasures. I like to sit and watch my kids playing in the yard. They crack me up. I like the onslaught of Spring. I have post pregnancy endorphins, and energy. Life feels like a bowl of jelly beans after a long cold winter of wishing time would pass more quickly and that my kids would get out of my personal space. Life as we know it can’t end now. It’s just getting good, and this goodness must be sustained regardless of the current economic CRISIS, and the threat of foreign bad guys obtaining nuclear arms.

In a remarkable case of kismet, I woke up to do my morning prayers one morning last week, and read this:

Psalm 49
Why should I fear in evil days…?

…For no man can buy his own ransom,
or pay a price to God for his life.
The ransom of his soul is beyond him.
He cannot buy life without end,
Nor avoid coming to the grave.

One of the many great things about being Catholic, is that every year during Lent, we get to prepare for the apocalypse (WOOHOO!). When Wilkerson gave his warning about fires in New York, my husband said, “The thing is, why would God give that prophesy to a Baptist?” (Don't be offended. That's how he jokes.)

But the Catholic Church has always been zagging when others are zigging. We need look no further than the daily readings of the Church during Lent if we want to know how to prepare for the end times. We get this prophesy every year. During the roaring 20s, the Great Depression, the Dot Com Bubble, and now an economic downturn, the message is the same:

“You are dust and unto dust you shall return.”

“Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

“No man can buy his own ransom.”

Wilkerson suggests that the world has become so bad that we deserve God's judgement which he prophesies will be fire in the streets of New York. The Word of God suggests that God's mercy endures forever, that we do not know the day or the hour, but as Christians, we can be happy about dying if we live in His presence every day.

I wish I could say that my faith is so strong that I never doubt the existence of Heaven. If I falter when it comes to yearning for death, at the very least I am zagging right along with the Church. I count on His mercy for the rest.


Kristin T. (@kt_writes) said...

I can SO relate to this post, especially this part: "For the first time in my lifetime, I have been existentially afraid. The worst thing about my fear is that I really love my life right now."

Sometimes when I think about how much I love my life right now--my husband and kids, my work, my church--it makes me feel more anxious about something happening that could change everything. But when I remind myself who gave it all to me, the love of the one who redeemed me from the pit, then this intense loving of my life enters a wholly different dimension--one filled with peace.

Thanks for tying all of this to Lent, too. It's a very meaningful connection for me.

Anonymous said...

this is grant:

i read half of the road. it sucked. i stopped reading it. i just turned to the back and read the last pages. i dont have time to finish reading crappy books

Betty Duffy said...

I agree, Kristin: "This intense loving of my life enters a wholly different dimension--one filled with peace." And it all hinges on remembering, as you say, "the one who gave it all to me." When I forget that point, the peace goes missing. Sadly, I forget too easily sometimes. I need reminders.

Grant, you and me both.

Jus said...

Reading Cormac Mc Carthy makes me want to jump off a bridge. As I have four lovely children who need a mother I avoid him.

Missed seeing you Tuesday!

TS said...

I've been zagging lately. While everyone else is saving for the Apocalypse I've been spending like crazy. Looking at your tag, did I miss an alcohol reference in this post?

Betty Duffy said...

TS- I think that alchohol tag was a typo. Though I could conceivably throw in a metaphor about drinking champagne on the sinking Titanic.