I remember when I lived in Southern California in the late 60’s. Seismologists predicted that there would be a massive earthquake in California, and the entire state would break off and fall into the ocean.
People began to panic. They sold their belongings and moved to the mountains. Cults formed. One family moved to the Midwest for safety. Ironically, their house was destroyed by a tornado the next year.
On the predicted date of demise, I walked out of our house to go to school. Our neighbor was sitting on his front stoop in scuba diving gear.
Needless to say, we didn’t drop off into the ocean. And, as far as I know, California is still there.
So why are we prone to messages of mass destruction? Perhaps it’s because we’re looking for a reprieve from the latest project at work. Or we want to be able to eat without guilt. Or put massive amounts of money on our credit cards.
I think we accept doomsday messages because it’s easier than finding ways to solve so many problems.
I’m giving this speech to myself, because I think I’ve given up on too many things due to fear. A fear that my work might not be good enough. A fear that I won’t make a difference. A fear that people will mock me.
And you know what? All of those fears might come true, because life is difficult. Life can be harsh.
Be we are still here.
It’s easy to throw up our hands and say, “nothing can be done!” It’s easy to deny any responsibility for our behavior or the condition of the world. Because change is hard. As Martin Luther King said:
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.
Life requires tenacity and a belief that the smallest actions can make the biggest difference. Because they often do.
Two alcoholics believed they could help other alcoholics, and now Alcoholics Anonymous saves lives daily.
One small girl refused to sit in an attic and lament the darkness of hatred. Instead, she wrote in her diary, and continued to believe in the inherent goodness of people. And Anne Frank’s words continue to change the world.
We are still here. The world did not end. We get to have another day.
I admit that I will have to diet for two weeks to lose the weight I gained just in case the world was to end.
I admit that I’m going to have to take my elliptical machine out of the trash area and start using it again.
I admit that I will have to work harder at my writing. I got a little lazy. Because maybe the world was going to end.
But it didn’t.
So let’s do something with our day. Let’s battle darkness with love. Let’s reach out to others and share our gifts. Let’s energize each other so that we can make a difference.
Because nobody said life would be easy. Life is difficult.
But we are still here.