Thursday, January 21, 2010

The End of the World

I've been meaning to talk about this for a few weeks now: the chance that you or I could be killed this weekend on Channel 9. Okay, not really.

(You may want to stop the video at the end of the song - even the ads for College Humor's other fare can be quite inappropriate. Courtesy Today's Big Thing. Contains zombies.)

But when I watched this, it got me thinking about The End of the World As I Knew It. (Funny thing, that). I realized that the world as I knew it has ended quite frequently. The last time the world ended was in September. When the world ends, it's not just a change in lifestyle, but a near-permanent rearranging of everything. It affects who I think I am and how I relate to the world, not just narrow confines. Adam would call it a shattering as you try to rearrange the pieces and create a new person from the old.

Though that reconsitution is never easy, the end of the world can be a good thing! Hyrum's birth ended the world as I knew it. Joy's too. It's a more complex, physically and emotionally-draining world, but a world with much greater sweetness and delight in little things.

Most of the time, the world ends without warning. The world as I knew it ended 6 years ago next week when I met Joy. It ended again shortly after we were married as my dissertation was shot down and I began doubting myself from the center out. It ended with little warning in the rain on the streets of East Germany while I lay waiting for an ambulance. It ended the night my date reached up to try to kiss me and I discovered for the first time there was hope for even me. ... Other people seem to have a lot to do with the end of the world.

Sometimes, though, the world ends on schedule. It ended on graduating from BYU and to a lesser extent from high school, but oddly enough not when graduating from Cornell - what really changed? not much. I expected a lot more to happen concurrently that didn't. I had fair warning when my missionary world was going to end and Hyrum came right on schedule.

The world can also end so gradually, you don't notice. Per was going to end the world and invite me into several new ones, though I had no idea of that when I met him. The world slowly ended while I sat on the nursery room floor to play with and teach the 2 year olds in our church. Regular temple attendance and repentance have continually changed the world as I knew it - always for the better, seldom obviously at first. The world ended one day studying the scriptures as I decided whether to go in to economics or German, but I had no idea what I was doing to the thin-spread, multi-majored undergrad Derrill.

Will moving to the ward be the end of the world as I know it? It felt like it last night after my last branch presidency meeting. But probably not. Then again, my Dad's first comment just happened to be mine also when we learned about it: "Time to grow up." Maybe it will all just be part of the gradual end of the world as I move from student to (someday) teacher - a consummation devoutly to be wished?


Desi said...

Quite a complex thought process. It's interesting to look back over life and notice those really life changing (world ending) events. It's amazing how different each new life can become for us. Some things that seem small at the moment often have turned out to be my biggest change events. Beautiful post! Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

D. Watson said...

It's kind of funny, Desi, but I had a feeling that said, "I think Desi would like this one."