Saturday, December 22, 2012

It Didn't End

The world didn't end.

They thought it would, but it didn't.

The proclamations of those believing that Dec 21st would see the end of the world echos another recent prediction by an American Evangelist that the world would end on May 21st of last year. In both situations thousands of people bought in to the 'end time' scenario and were caught short by the fact that the world simply went on.

The world didn't end.

They thought it would, but it didn't.

A few days ago I spoke with a man, a fellow rider on WheelTrans, off to the gym for a morning workout. He was in his seventh year of being disabled. He rides a souped up scooter and talked, animatedly with the friend he was travelling with about his morning workout and the upcoming trials for a high level wheelchair sports team. "I thought my world had ended," he said.

There is a woman in my apartment building who I see sometimes waiting for a taxi. In good weather she sits on the bench outside. In the rain or in the cold, she sits on one of the couches in the lobby. We spoke one day while I was waiting for Joe to bring the car around and she was waiting her regular cab driver. She told me patting her walker with real affection that when she was injured and was told that she'd always need some kind of mobility devise to get around that, "I thought my world had ended." It hadn't. It had changed, but it hadn't ended.

When I made my first ride in my wheelchair, something I've described here before, I was simply pleased to be out of Intensive Care and into the hallway and on my way to the coffee shop. One of the doctors, later in my room, said, "Well, the world as you knew it has ended." For a moment there was a crushing fear in my heart. For a moment, I believed her. But my world hadn't ended.

Some thought the world would end for all. Some of us think that it is our world that has ended. That disability is a cataclysmic event. That disability is normality's apocalypse. That disability is the cruelest kind of torment - it leaves it's victim in a world ended, living in a world that simply goes on. Those like the man on the bus, like the woman in my lobby, like me looking up at a doctors face, wearing a shaman's mask, telling me that my world was over.

The world didn't end.

We thought that it would, but it didn't.

I have a friend, an email buddy, who has a child with a fairly significant disability. She has been blazingly honest with me about her first reaction to the news that her child was born with a disability. "I thought my world had ended," she has said often. Now when she says it she says it with a kind of self mocking tone, a 'how could I have thought such a thing' incredulity enters her voice. Her child with a disability is her youngest of three - and she has now what she had then. A life full to the brim, a family, a job, a marriage.

The world didn't end.

She thought it would, but it didn't.

Tomorrow does what it tends to do ... no matter what prophets and doctors and fears tell us. Tomorrow stubbornly comes. And it brings with it what no one expects - hope.


CapriUni said...

Back 'round the 1980s, there was a local evangelical TV station that would regularly post adverts warning that widespread cultural changes were warning of "The End of the World as We Know it."

After hearing that phrase a couple dozen times, as I flipped through the channels, it occurred to me:

The world as we know it is always ending, because the world is always changing in to something new.

The world we know is always being replaced by the world we're discovering.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Good morning Dave,

dont you know that we meet at your blog every morning? :-)
If we will ever meet personally I dont know. If I wouldnt get sick every winter I would have already tried to visit at one of your events in England. I dont know if I will ever be able to come to Canada...

CapriUnis comment to this blog is very philosophical. I read something similiar in Sophies World a book by Jostein Gaarder. Roughly translated it says: "Not we are born into this world, the world is given to us; to be born is to be getting the whole world as a present!"

We change this our world every minute and the moment we stop living our world stops to exist. There might be a blue spherefullof water still going on in the universe,but our world it is no more.


pattib said...

Lovely post. I don't know how many times I've said, "Your life is over" to friends and/or family members who were about to have a baby. I shouldn't be so glib. I think I'll change my mantra to "Your new life is about to begin!"

Tamara said...

Perfect post for 12/22/2012 ... :-)

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Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous at 21:37, your comment seems a little insensitive to me, after all Dave said severel times that he writes his posts (from the heart) and in some cases if you write so much about emotionally difficult topics correct spelling seems to be secondery.

And I know for sure that if noticed or told about, Dave corrects his spelling.

But if you only comment about the spelling and not the message of his posts it seems hard to understand your motives of reading here for me.

Julia ( and yes, I have my own mistakes)

Rickismom said...

Our future only ends when we let it.

FunMumX3 said...

agreed... when my daughter was born 17 years ago and we learned she had down syndrome i thought my life was over. i wondered about her independence and if she would ever leave home. now she talks about the day she will finish school, get a job and get an apartment and i am afraid i won't be able to keep her home!