Our view: The end is near, but keep reading ...

December 21, 2012 12:30:37 PM



If you are reading this editorial, one of two things can be assumed: First, the world has not yet come to an end, as some people who embraced Maya mythology had predicted.  


Second, if the end is indeed imminent, you have chosen an pretty unimaginative way to spend your last remaining hours.  


In Thursday's edition, we asked residents how they would spend today if it were, indeed, the last day. Not a single one of them said anything about reading the newspaper. 


What almost all of them did say is that they would spend their time with family, whether skiing in Colorado or lying on a beach in Hawaii or staying in bed or just hanging out, what seemed to matter most is being with the people they love. 


We are reasonably confident that the world will keep on spinning, that Saturday will arrive in its usual fashion. That begs an obvious question: Remember, all those things you said you would do if the world were going to end today? Why not do them anyway? 


We are not suggesting that all of the family-loving respondents will wake up Saturday morning with a sense of relief over being spared the necessity of spending precious hours with family. We just believe that, instead of devoting ourselves to what matters most, we busy ourselves with the ordinary things that always seem to crowd out our more noble intentions. What is considered urgent always seems to usurp what is important. 


The truth is that while the world may not end today, it will end some day. A week ago, the world ended for 20 little children and six school staffers in Newtown, Conn. For their families, the world as they knew it ended that day, too. Consider that a 6-year-old child in Newtown was old at 5, if that life is measured by its breadth. Indeed, for those children, age 5 was a sunset year. 


How many of us, whether we be young or old or somewhere in our middle years, are living in the sunset?  


So, if the whole idea of the Maya end-times phenomenon is little more than a whimsical farce, it should at least serve to remind us of a more meaningful certainty: The end is coming. For some, the end is near. 


Although we are armed with that knowledge, it would be impractical to suggest that everyone should spend their remaining time on Earth lolling around on the beach and ripping down the snowy slopes. Certainly, no one can afford to lie around in bed all day.  


But we can -- and should -- observe the spirit that moves us to cling to those we love in our final hours. Whether it be a phone call or a kiss, a hug or an extra "I love you!'' or a just a lingering moment, a few minutes carved out of a busy day, we can live as though it is the last day. We need not always sacrifice the important for the urgent. 


Yes, we believe it would be a profitable thing to live at least some portion of each day as if it were the last day. 


And if you were to choose spending a quiet hour with your loved one reading the newspaper, we would find no fault in that.