Friday, January 20, 2012

Mary and the End of the World

So it's 2012, which, if you believe some Mayan conspiracy folks and a terrible disaster movie, portends the end of the world. Naturally, the end of the world has been on my mind lately. I read World War Z, which is a great zombie book, in one day on my brother's insistence. The other book I read over winter break was A Distant Mirror, which eerily mirrored not just World War I, but also World War Z. Both of these books remind me of Holocaust books, especially Schindler's List, which are gripping and painful because (a) people are incredible skum-balls and (b) people are incredibly noble.

And most disasters--from ice storms to ends of the world like the the plague-- equally impact the good and the bad. In other words, we're all in this together. The rain and nuclear fallout descend equally on the righteous and the wicked. It's a fact that I noticed when I was reading 3rd Nephi concurrent with World War Z. Those people that Christ heals when he comes in glory? Many of them were probably injured during the calamities leading up to his coming. Recall that the people who survived were not overly cheerful about their survival. I imagine some of those people thought, "Couldn't you just have not dropped that bolder on me in the first place?" Unfortunately it doesn't get to work that way. Even the Second Coming, it looks pretty clear that the saints are going to have to suffer alongside the sinners for a while. You don't get raptured on Day One.

So we have to be prepared for that. I, especially, have to work on that preparation because no sooner did I get home (actually, sooner--in the airport) than I got called to be Ward Emergency Specialist, which is a unique challenge in a singles' ward anyway. We're transient. We don't have large reserves of food, and often, we are in the poorest times of our lives. We usually have family in areas that won't be affected by a tornado, or hurricane, or whatever. It's a fun puzzle for me to figure out how to help people to be prepared. I even came up with lectures, field trips and prizes for preparedness. (Give a mouse a calling...)

Turns out that not only is this overkill, but actually our ward theme for this year is kind of The World's Probably Not Going to End, but If It Were Would You Be Prepared? The idea being that if we procrastinate repentance, being the sort of people we want to be and just living, then we're falling far short. We want to be living good lives now, and getting prepared for whatever may come, which includes spiritual, emotional, physical, and zombie-shooting preparedness.

The biggest part of the this preparation, the scariest part to me, is when it comes down to survival, will I be as noble as I'd like to be? I don't want to be the one pushing people out of the lifeboat. I don't even want to be the person who's sweetly hysterical and incompetent. No, man, I want to be the freakin' action hero of disaster. I want to save others, have a plan, have materials, and occasionally throw out a roundhouse kick. I want there to be a made-for-TV movie based on my actions in a disaster situation.

I'm scared I won't be that person. I'm scared I'll be all "Eh, maybe I'll just die now." Sometimes I feel that way now when, for example, there's a rerun of 30 Rock or if vending machine soda costs a dollar. I need to prepare myself for that. And it takes a lot more than just some water bottles in the back of my car.


Margaret said...

I confess, I also often think about what I would do in a disaster - for example, after the sinking of the Costa Concordia, I thought "Would I have been able to help people get organized? Would I have been the first off the boat?" I think that having a kid has made me less of an action hero, but also much less likely to just shoot myself when the zombies break in through my dangerously-unbarred living room window. I'm not sure what the proper action is with a kid - do you push aside crying grown-ups to put your kid in the lifeboat, or do you hug your son and ask him to help you pass out life preservers on deck?

Jennifer said...

Mary, you are awesome. You are the best Emergency Preparedness coordinator ever.

Kind of bummed about not getting raptured on day 1, though. :(