It’s Always the Apocalypse
I was born into a world that was always ending.
In our sweaty Texas church of fire and the end of days, we sang, “People get ready, Jesus is coming.” Our Baptist pastor preached that at any moment we’d be taken up in a divine rapture, rescued from this earth, which would burn in damnation, according to the prophecies.
The signs were there. First there was Clinton’s peace deal in the Middle East. Soon the temple would be rebuilt in Jerusalem and then the world would end. My dad showed us how Hillary Rodham Clinton’s name worked out in numerology to 666 — the mark of the beast. There would be an atomic world war. Yasser Arafat would be murdered.
The first news story I saw on the television my parents kept in the closet was in 1993, when the Waco compound was on fire, not far from where I lived in Dallas. The sound was muted, so I didn’t hear the screams, the helicopters, or the bullets. I didn’t need to. At church the next day, we were told this too was a sign. The government was coming for us, the righteous.
As you may have heard, Jesus never came. Yasser Arafat died of natural causes. Hillary was not elected. We’re all still here. And when I grew up, I left that apocalyptic faith. No more would I live in a world of eternal end, I vowed.
But I was wrong. Modern life has been an endless parade of apocalypses. There was the Y2K bug, then 9/11, then the market collapse. The climate crisis. Then, the 2016 election with its daily horrors. My own small apocalypse, the end of my marriage. And here we are now, facing a pandemic.
We were born for this, I joke with my siblings. If there are not four horsemen is it even the end times? Give us a whore of Babylon like it says in Revelation or go home!
We laugh. But we are nervous. Quarantined. My sister-in-law has a presumptive case of coronavirus. We grew up hypervigilant about apocalypse, and maybe we never really stopped waiting for it all to end.
But on the bright side, at least we’re emotionally prepared! Here is what I know about living in end times: