It’s the end of the world as we know it…
…and I feel fine…. sort of.
Maybe because I don’t have a tv… Maybe because although I read CNN.com religiously, I usually read the international version and this didn’t make headlines on the international scene? I’m not sure… either way, I was unaware until this morning when I looked at all of my friends’ funny, snarky facebook statuses (that is the correct plural form of the word ‘status,’ I looked it up to make sure… you might think that it’s like “alumnus” and the plural would be “alumni”. Not so.), that apparently the rapture is happening tomorrow. I know that I blogged yesterday, and it’s not like me to do it again this soon. But I figured that just in case, I might ought to have one last hoorah!
- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- The Rapture is a reference to the caught up referred to in the Biblical passage 1 Thessolonians 4:17 when in the End Times the Christians will be gathered together in the air to meet Christ.
When I was a child, there were two things that I was terribly afraid of: The Killer Klowns From Outer Space and a horrible recurring nightmare that I used to have involving the disembodied heads of Victor and Nikki Newman from The Young and the Restless revolving on an invisible axis, suspended in an empty black space as they chanted the number ‘800.’ Not kidding. That nightmare persisted throughout my childhood and every once in a while, I have it again. Although as an adult, I’m so accustomed to it that it doesn’t even phase me and usually while I’m dreaming it, I can make myself aware that this is my weird, childhood dream and that it’s not real.
Here’s the interesting thing (as if a small child having a recurring nightmare involving characters from a daytime soap opera wasn’t weird enough), in spite of the fact that they scared me to death and I could almost make myself cry right now thinking about them (particularly the Klowns), I knew that these things were not real. However, I was raised in the Pentecostal Holiness church and I knew good and well what was real and what I really had to be afraid of. For those of you unfamiliar with the Pentecostal Holiness church, it’s a Christian denomination, particular to the South Eastern United States (especially Georgia and the Carolinas) whose five cardinal doctrines are as follows: justification by faith, entire sanctification, the baptism in the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues, Christ’s atonement (including divine healing), and the premillennial second coming of Christ. [That’s the rapture, for all you heathens…]
We Pentecostals took the rapture very seriously. Even as young children, we knew that after Jesus came back and took all the good people with him to Heaven, the bad people who got left behind (including Mister Elwood, since he didn’t go to church—which just made the whole thing even scarier for me) were not in for anything nice. Because I knew it to be true (as opposed to the Killer Klowns), this was actually my biggest fear of all—what if I wasn’t good enough and I got left behind? And as I saw it, there was a pretty good chance that I might be left behind because I was what Mama Bear called a “strong willed child” and she was forever saying to me, “Rebellion is as witchcraft, Sarah.” [That’s a quote from the Bible, 1 Samuel 15:23, for all you heathens…]
There was one particularly scary day that I can still remember as clearly as if it were yesterday. I must have been 4 or 5 because it happened during the day and I was at home with Mama Bear instead of at school. As I child, I was quite content to play independently with only my imagination to keep me company. I guess that Mama Bear used the opportunity to step outside for something. Somehow, I came to the realization that I was alone in the house and went looking for her. She and Baby Bear were nowhere to be found and were not answering my repeated calls for them. Of course, the only logical explanation was that the rapture had happened and I had been left behind for being a bad little girl (Baby Bear would’ve been swept up with the righteous because she was so little and had no way of being accountable for her own actions yet.. a fact that Jesus understands…). Even then, I was a pretty proactive. So, I swallowed down the panic, weighed my options and decided to take care of myself.
If the rapture had indeed happened, Mister Elwood would not have been swept up with the righteous because he didn’t go to church. He could take care of me once he got home from work. However, I had seen the movies about the rapture’s aftermath at Sunday School (this was before Kirk Cameron starred in movies made from the Left Behind book series) and I knew that once the rapture happened, the world would be catapulted into utter chaos. Cars of righteous people would be suddenly unmanned and would wreck and clog the roads, making them impassible. And on top of that, only bad people would be left, so they would start doing crazy things like looting and killing and stealing food (kind of like post-Katrina New Orleans). With that knowledge under my belt, I was sure that Mister Elwood probably would not make it home from work. I knew how to talk on a phone, but I didn’t know how to use a phone, so I couldn’t even call him and let him know that I didn’t make the cut and needed my daddy to come home and take care of me.
Since Mister Elwood seemed like an improbable option, I decided to go with the second best, our next door neighbor Della. Like Mama Bear, she didn’t work either, so generally she was home during the day. She did not go to church. So it seemed logical to me that she would’ve been left behind as well. Her husband Sven was at work, and like Mister Elwood, he probably would never make it home. I thought, “if I can just make it through the chaos across the fifty feet separating our houses, I’ll be safe. She may not go to church, but she is good and kind and she loves me and she’ll take care of me. We’ll be two lost souls that Jesus mistakenly forgot and together we’ll make it though this because she’s smart and she knows how to use a phone.” (I’m not sure why the phone was so important to me…)
Once I got up the nerve, I bolted out our sliding glass back door, across the yard and through Della’s sliding glass door into her kitchen. Usually, we knocked at each others’ doors, but this was serious and I didn’t want to hang around in the yard long enough for some of those looting hooligans to get me. So, I just went in and called out for her. No luck! Jesus obviously didn’t forget her and she was swept away with Mama and Baby Bears in the rapture in spite of the fact that she didn’t go to church!
By this time, I was at the point of utter despair. I walked back to our house with my head hung low, crying, not even worrying about the looting hooligans… so ashamed… wishing that I had thrown away my evil, Satanic troll dolls and put away those damn Barbies when my mom asked me to clean my room instead of just hiding them under my bed. “Rebellion is as witchcraft and Jesus hates witches and rebellious children. He might as well just take me to burn for eternity in H-E-double hockey sticks now (because even though it’s technically the name of the place and not a bad word, we still didn’t say it) because I don’t want to have to live through all of the horrible things to come.”
Then suddenly, on the brink of hopelessness, crying unabashedly as I started through the sliding glass door to our empty house, I spotted my salvation—not Jesus, but Mama Bear. She walked around the corner of our house with Baby Bear on her hip and Della beside her, “There you are! What’s wrong, baby?” Of course, I was rebellious, so I couldn’t own up to believing that I had been bad enough to be left behind in the rapture, so I think that I just hugged her and kept on crying (I’ve always been a cryer). Now everything would be fine. Mister Elwood and Sven would make it home from work and not be swallowed by the throngs of bad people or killed as they were hit by an unmanned car of a righteous person. We’d all be together and okay and I had a new chance to be a good child and not get left behind again! Amen.
So this morning, as I was perusing Facebook, noting all of the people talking about the rapture and the end of the world, a little 4 year old girl peeped her head out of the deep recesses of my mind and started freaking out. I calmed her down with a couple of cups of coffee and some of the wonderful honey oat bread that I made while I was blogging last night. After she was taken care of, I started to investigate. Although I’m fanciful to a fault and my overactive imagination can easily run away with me, my very practical, “researchy” side prevailed and has concluded that it’s pretty unlikely that the rapture will happen tomorrow… but if it does, I’ll be ready because:
1) Housemate and I have already talked it through and we have a plan in case we don’t make the cut.
2) I was raised Pentecostal Holiness so I’m betting on making the cut… and come on,
3) I’ve already lived through it once.
Before we all go, you should know that the Sarah Mac Band’s latest album, A Single Revolution, was reviewed on The Alternate Root, a roots music website. You can read the review here.
And in the event that we don’t all go and we have some more time to give up our rebellious ways (and we know where those lead), then we’ll hope to see you in Tampa this Tuesday for the WMNF (Tampa’s community radio) Bob Dylan 70th Birthday Bash.
When: Tuesday, May 24th 5:00PM-12:00AM
Where: Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, FL