If you haven't heard by now that the world is scheduled to end tomorrow, let me be the one to break it to you. I don't follow these things very closely, but apparently there is some preacher somewhere, with a big advertising budget, who claims to have been tipped off about the impending doom. My Facebook friends are all signed up to participate in the post-Apocalypse looting spree, scheduled to begin right after the Rapture.
Let me be extremely clear about my opinion on this: it's nonsense. If there's a God and He plans to end the world, why would He tip off a slick televangelist with a bullhorn and charismatic minions driving tricked-out Apocalypse vans? If I had heard it from someone who possesses any sort of moral authority whatsoever, I'd be more worried.
And what's to be worried about? A couple of years ago a dear friend of mine passed away. She was the type of person who made me think, "if there's a heaven and anyone's going there, she's a shoo-in." She promised to prop the door open for me.
All that aside, I think that it's probably not a bad exercise to take stock of one's life now and again, and to think about the idea of the world coming to an end. If today is my last full day on Earth, am I happy with how I am spending it?
The short answer, for me, is "not really." I don't mean to be whiny about my life, because I am blessed in many ways. I am healthy, and so is my family. I have three beautiful children who are pretty much on track to become good people. My house is a mess, but it's a big old house in a leafy suburb, close to most of my extended family. My middle daughter is to be confirmed on Sunday, and old friends are coming from miles around to witness the event. Two of her godparents are flying in from Chicago for the day. It's hard to ask for better friends than that. And I am beginning to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a writer. My blog gives me practice, and I am taking a wonderful online class right now that has already produced some publishable material.
But it's not quite 8:00 in the morning, and I am sitting at a desk in midtown Manhattan, with a pile of paperwork in front of me that interests me not in the least. I long to be home with my children, tidying up my house in preparation for the weekend's festivities, sharing a cup of coffee with one or more of the other moms, or taking care of a few of the household errands and tasks that need to be completed. I scan the blogosphere (which, I concede, paints a skewed portrait of American women in my age group), and it seems that everyone else has time to care for their families, their homes, and themselves. There is time for peace, quiet, family, creativity and friendship somewhere in the world - just not here.
If this really were my last day, I'd be home with my husband and children.
What would you be doing?
Yesterday I created a particularly successful crockpot dinner. I promised my helper (whose friends read this blog - thank you!) that I would post the "recipe" in this space. There isn't really a recipe - I just threw a bunch of stuff that was handy into the pot and turned it on, hoping for the best. It just happened to come out really well.
Empty a can of crushed tomatoes into the crock-pot. Stir in about a tablespoon of cornstarch, a few beef bouillon cubes, a pinch each of dried oregano and basil, and some black pepper. I had a plastic jar of dried assorted "gourmet" mushrooms that I got at Costco, so I threw some of those in too. On top, I placed several frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs (also bought in bulk at Costco). I sprinkled a little more salt and pepper on top, covered it, put it on "low," and went to work.
Late in the afternoon my helper gave it a stir, and the chicken broke into a million little pieces and got mixed in with the tomatoey goodness. We ate the concoction over a bed of rice last night, and there was not a speck left over.
Watch this space! More about my writing class, and about coming-of-age rituals, soon.