Sunday, April 3, 2016

When the World Ends

The other day I had an interesting conversation with my sibling-in-laws. We were talking about the movie, "Seeking a friend for the End of the World". The premise of this film is that there is an asteroid headed for Earth and in three weeks it will make contact. It seems like a pretty cliche story line at this point, but there was something special about it. Each scene depicted what I would imagine would happen if we were really in that predicament. The confusion, the humanity, the various ways with which real people cope... It is well worth a watch if you haven't seen it yet.

In mentioning this movie, we started to ask one another what we would do if there were only three weeks left on Earth. I surprised myself by how long it took me to come up with an answer. My sibling-in-laws were throwing out ideas like, "I would blow up a skyscraper, burn down a National Forest, steal a Tesla and drive it off a cliff, etc". I decided that I would want to be naked the entire time and I would jump off of high things. I would base jump all of the most dangerous cliffs and canyons I could find. My husband said later, that he would finish off his travel "Bucket List" which would take him to Egypt and India if there were still flights available. 

The thing is, I don't think any of us considered what it would really be like if the world were going to end. Our answers probably reveal a lot about our proverbial "Id" then our true reactions to this sort of catastrophic event. The message of "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" was about our primal need for relationship. We are a people born into community, designed to live in community. Even in our darkest moments, there is a place inside each of us that cries out to be known, to be seen, to be loved. We want to be in relationship with someone. Even in the narrative of Genesis, God said, "It is not good for man to be alone." Then he created Eve to be Adam's companion and partner in living.

If the world were really going to end, I imagine that in actuality, we would let go of these selfish notions however fun, frivolous or destructive they might be. We would do it because they would not leave us full. I truly believe we would want to go out feeling whole. Just like in the journey of life, we seek a companion. I believe we would do the same if we were headed to an unknown end, because what provides richness to our lives are people. It has always been like this and will always be like this. Chance encounters with someone kind can transform a person's entire experience. A well placed pat on the back or hug can melt the hardest of hearts. The scariest situation imaginable feels a little less scary with someone by your side. 

So, the Earth as we know it is not headed into imminent doom (at least I am not aware that it is), but I think this story from Hollywood still hands us some truth that is worth holding on to. As we go about our days of living, let's pay attention (and with some gratitude) to the relationships that we hold dear. These relationships are what transform us. People are the vessels through which the Spirit speaks and moves. God is right, of course, it is not good for humans to be alone. 

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