The Rapture that was supposed to happen Saturday, May 21, at 6 p.m. came and went like so many failed doomsday predictions of the past: With a fizzle.
Some people expecting the world to end quit their jobs, spent their money and some did not even bother to do the dirty dishes as they waited for 6 p.m. to come, and for them, sadly watch it go.
Many devoted followers of Harold Camping—the 89-year-old preacher who spent $100 million to tell people that the world was ending and using his co-founded Family Radio International to spread the message—told many media outlets how stunned they were when a giant earthquake did not happen.
Many Christians felt Camping was going too far into predicting the Apocalypse, saying that is something that only God knows. And a good number of atheists had a good laugh at Camping’s and his followers’ expense.
For many of us, the doom and gloom are reminders of failed doomsdays, most notably Y2K, which was supposed to send the world back into the Dark Ages as computers and other electrical systems apparently could not comprehend that “2000” comes after “1999.”
And now, many other true believers are waiting for Dec. 21, 2012 to deliver the end of the world because the Mayan calendar ends on that date. Others say it does not usher in the end of the world, but the end of a cycle and the Earth will (hopefully) continue on spinning.
But despite Camping’s failed prediction, he did at least teach one follower a valuable lesson. Keith Bauer said he learned a precious teaching after he took his family and drove from his home in Maryland to California to witness the Rapture.
“Worst-case scenario for me, I got to see the country,” he said. “If I should be angry at anybody, it should be me.”
He is right. Whether a rapture, or a Mayan calendar or simply walking down the street and getting struck by a car, many of us do not know with certainty when we will die and we should take the time to enjoy just how beautiful this world actually is.
Yes, there is a lot of ugliness in it and it shouldn’t be ignored, but sometimes for our own sanity it’s best to turn a blind eye to the cruelty that afflicts us and solely focus on the good.
And maybe that is the most important lesson we can learn from Camping’s failed apocalypse: To make now worth living for, for now will never come again.