Are these the “end times”?

It seems like periodically we go through a cycle of major concern about the “end times”. They’re identified differently, but generally the focus is on the world as we know it ending somehow–either with a bang or (courtesy of T.S. Eliot) with a whimper. And every time the end is predicted–and people begin to go into a frenzy of concern and panic–somehow we make it through…and the world continues.

The current “end of the world” that I’ve been hearing about is for 2012. The current reason (I think) is that the Mayan calendar ends then…so somehow, so will our world.

I don’t really know. And because I don’t have any way of knowing what the end time is (either of the world or of my own life), I plan on continuing to live as I would. There’s a story I read or heard sometime that had to do with the question being asked, “If you knew the world would end tomorrow, what would you do today?” And the answer I remember is “I would plant a tree.” A sign of hope.

But what if the world as we know it does end in 2012? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? We would no longer live in ways that separate people from each other. We would no longer take this wonderful earth for granted. We would be willing to share so that all might have enough to meet their needs. We would work together to solve problems rather than barricading ourselves into our own little kingdoms. Children would no longer die from preventable diseases…and would not cry from hunger. We would delight in our diversity rather than fearing it. We would recognize that each of us knows a part of the whole–and that it’s only by working together that we can see more clearly.

It’s not just a dream. Not really.

We can end the world as we know it…and we don’t have to wait until 2012. We can start today–living the new life. We can (as Mahatma Gandhi said) be the change we want to see in the world.