Rapture

Okay, okay… so it didn’t happen. The heavens didn’t crash down upon us like cardboard walls on a television set. We are all still here. The birds are relentlessly chirping. Moving veritable mounds of molecules, they live by example: Sing.

So we sing to the heavens, and the gates of hell have closed their entranceway as well. The DJ at my brother-in-law’s wedding announced the upcoming moment when the scheduled event was to happen. I felt nothing. There wasn’t an ominous overtone. The skies were clear and gorgeous. The ground only moved for those who overindulged. But I like to think I am aware of spiritual shifts in the cosmos. With nothing whatsoever to base this assertion, I believe I would have sensed the impending doom. Now, alas, I will never know.

Is it possible we are already there? What if the event took place, but God is taking us – one by one – rather than all at once? That may not be biblical, but neither was the fallen prediction. If one person was gone, would the world notice? As the days went on, I think we most certainly would. If the dude pressing the button at the crosswalk flew into the sky and didn’t return, I would definitely make a note of that. (I would also begin to fear for my own soul, but how long do I expect this post to be?)

Look, it happens to the best of us. We predict we will be millionaires by a certain age, then we predict the government will sap all our earnings for our entire life. Only one of these predictions is guaranteed. The silver lining is that even if we achieve prediction #1, we haven’t avoided prediction #2. While that should make you rest easier, I predict it will not.

I try to keep my predictions predictable:

I predict I will write a blog about Harold Camping’s prediction. I predict this will change less lives than his prediction about The Rapture.

I predict I will love my daughter no matter what she does. Stay tuned.

I predict there will be hardship ahead for myself, and for all of us. I predict many will be unprepared.

I predict The Bible will provide solace for those who read it. I predict those that don’t will deny the solace could exist for them.

I predict I will stay calm. I predict that will work well for me.

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Bin Laden

THE Guru Of Evil. The good ol’ USA has hoisted him up to levels undeserving of such paucity. But don’t expect that sheer adulation to end anytime soon. This country is enamored, and our government wants us to stay that way.

Celebrating a death never defines the deceased, it defines the celebrant. We simply must get over ourselves.

It amazes me how badly the bulk of us miss the mark. There is great power in ignorance. That is the power of a 3 year old playing in the middle of a busy street. Ignorance is dwarfed, however, by the power of ignoring: This power presents itself in the form of the parents who allowed their child to be in this predicament. Then there is the power of goodness. This is exemplified by the person who stops their car, gets out, stops traffic, scoops up the kid and returns the child to their parents.

Unless you would drive around the kid – or run them over – you are one of the three.

We all fall prey to these variations, from time to time. There is no getting around it. We don’t always pay attention. We aren’t always at the top of our game. Our human frailty is not a weakness, it is our greatest strength.

Get over yourself.

After 9/11, I spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out how to keep ‘what happened’ from happening again. That was me, staring at my ceiling September 15th at 3:00 AM. I could also be found waking up September 20th at 4:00 AM thinking of how this event could be prevented in the future. Then again on the 22nd. Again on the 25th. I didn’t get much sleep at all that month.

I couldn’t get over myself.

As the Government rounded up the troops to bomb areas of Afghanistan, I was trying to figure out how to keep someone other than the pilot from flying a plane.

Obviously, I missed the boat.

The media sold the story of our victimization. Bin Laden had an agenda, and we were victims. We needed to gather some patriotism, pour in a generous dose of hatred, and begin the bombing. Then the media would keep the public’s attention on terrorists, and training camps, and information gleaned outside the scope of the terrorist networks.

Face it: if we had inside information, the problem wouldn’t exist.

Always looking outward for a solution is a blame game. That is what we have been caught up in ever since. While making it possible to completely ignore reality, blaming and victimization go hand in hand. Responsibility always acknowledges truth, and accepts the burden. You can look to others for inspiration, but you cannot lead except by example.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: hard to have any of it without responsibility.

Look at your own life. Tell me all the success stories you have had from blaming someone else. I’m not saying bad crap hasn’t happened, for surely it has. I just want to know how your fault-finding victimization created success in your own life. Can you give me an example? Even one?

As a schoolchild, perhaps you were blamed for something that another kid did. Perhaps you were able to shirk off the blame, and throw the responsibility on the kid who slung a rubber band at the back of Molly’s head. But this wasn’t success, you simply avoided blame. If the other kid fessed up, he came out looking better than you! He took responsibility. You shirked responsibility, while placing blame.

The whole thing is wildly unfair.

While Bin Laden’s arsenal was far more dangerous than an unguided rubber band in a classroom, shirking responsibility yields correspondingly similar results. The structure doesn’t change, only the stakes do.

Bin Laden’s capacity never scared me nearly as much as the free-range fly zone over our nation’s capitol nearly an hour after two major terrorist attacks. One of these is gone. The other can only be secured through responsibility.

Security has been tightened at airports. Now, despite millions of frequent flyer miles, you or I can be groped like a private lap dancer in front of disgruntled passengers. This wasn’t the ‘responsibility’ I was hoping for. Box cutters weren’t the reason for the terrorist attack.

I think Pilots should have seats which weigh them. When they get up, only their exact weight will be able to fly. In addition, there needs to be a code every time a pilot sits down. Without that code, the plane goes on autopilot. Needless to say, Pilots should have a monitor, with a camera looking into the cabin.

So we have been wrong for 10 years, but now we are all right.

As George Carlin said, “We like war! We’re a warlike country. We’re good at it!” But our vulnerabilities are as wide as the Grand Canyon. While my trust in our government wasn’t changed knowing we corralled Bin Laden in under a decade, implementing the ideas I mentioned would help me sleep. Once we are able to ignore Bin Laden – thus giving him the attention he truly deserves – I will celebrate heartily.

I like to think I can make a difference.

I need to get over myself.