Book of Revelations? Meet the Year of Revelations. Someone recently asked me if this could be the Rapture, the one the Christians live for and, in theory, die for. I laughed it off. “Ha ha, of course not.” But then on one of my many sleepless nights, I had to wonder. Are we experiencing our own revelations? I can’t decide which revelation is worse.
The Revelation of Mortality
Death is so prominent around us now that most people barely register it. We see numbers for COVID deaths and they are just numbers. Wars are like this. Body counts become objectified to statistics. I have people I care about dying all around me and what is unnerving for me is that I have not lost a single loved one to COVID. Cancer. Lung problems. Liver and kidney failure. My beloved 16-year-old dog choked to death in my husband’s arms while he tried to save her. On Christmas Day 2019, a semi-aquatic turtle that had been in our family for twenty-five years died abruptly when he should have had at least another twenty or so left.
Just as the Rapture promises, people are suddenly gone. It is what prompted me to write my previous post on Dying Pagan. In that article, I noted how death brings out the worst in people. Months later, it feels like life is bringing out the worst in people. This is hard. I mean, hard. We are all living through terrible stuff.
I have lost so many people lately that I keep forgetting they are dead. It isn’t like we can have funerals or memorials for them to grieve together. They are just gone and when they are people you love but who you do not often see, we can forget. Then we grieve all over again. Be gentle with one another. We’re all going through the grinder.
The Revelation of Vulnerability
I just turned fifty-nine and throughout my life, despite surviving way too many traumas for one life, I have been the eternal optimist. I eagerly anticipate the good in everyone, to my own detriment. That perspective has taken a beating this year and more and more people act out of their own fear and rage. I am struggling to hold onto the thought that people are behaving as they are because they are due to outside influence.
They say that what happens to us does not define us, but how we react to what happens to us. I wrote a previous post about thriving during quarantine and the guilt I felt over that. As an introvert, quarantine was a godsend for me, despite how destructive it was for so many others. Going out into the world again to work five days a week on the other hand… wow, it has taken a toll. I feel vulnerable and exposed every day I have to go out into the world. As a Pagan, it was quite a revelation that I feel more comfortable being in my house than out in nature.
I have had people come in for our classes and announce that everyone in their house had COVID-19 and others that posted on social media within a couple of hours of being in our shop that they “have all the symptoms.” We practice social distancing, insist on masks, use so much Lysol spray, and use hand sanitizer. Still, the vulnerability is palpable.
Between potential exposure to the virus and the exposure to the rage and reactions of my fellow humans, I want to go back into my house and staple my rose-colored glasses back onto my head.
The Revelation That It Ain’t the COVIDs
The most profound revelation for me is that our greatest threat as humans is not COVID-19. It has killed so many of us and will continue to do so. The Sweating Sickness, AIDS, Polio, Spanish Flu, The Black Death, Yellow Fever, H1N1, Ebola, SARS, Zika… plagues come and go or in some instances come and stay. We begin to think ourselves immune because advances in modern medicine give us the illusion of immortality. Every now and then, Nature pulls some wild card out of its sleeve to prove we can’t control everything.
We strive to advance ourselves and have faith in humanity only to be confronted head-on, as a species, with our own fallibility and mortality. My biggest revelation is that it’s not the murder hornets or my state being on fire (again) or even bigger hurricanes in the gulf area. It isn’t raging unemployment or a broken economic system. It isn’t even divided extreme bipartisanism in our politics. The greatest revelation for me is that what will be our undoing is that the horrible people in the world are louder, more determined, and more plentiful than we ever imagined. I used to think there were more of “us” than “them.” Now, I am not convinced of that.
More than ever, people with agendas to promote are antagonizing and provoking the masses into attacking one another. People are manipulated into cultivating thoughts and words they might otherwise fight down. The rage and fear ignited by the media and the influencers encourages us to bypass the filters that once told us to think before we speak and research before we proclaim. Most humans, unfortunately, follow the mob mentality approach and the mob is furious and terrified right now. That will be our undoing much faster and more efficiently than any disease.
The Revelation of Scales and Masks
In theory, revelations teach us. The scales drop from our eyes and we see things as they really are. We stop chanting about perception being everything and confront the undeniable truths. The revelations for 2020 told me that the Federation of Planets will not manifest as soon as I hoped, if at all. The TV series “Star Trek: Picard” added the information that the Federation of Planets was almost as corrupt as our political system is now. Roddenberry is no doubt turning over in his grave like he’s on a rotisserie. We can kill off that idealism as well.
It’s like a joke that when the medical community literally tells us to wear masks, the toxic people drop theirs. They show us they are dangerous in more ways than one. People who previously curbed an inclination toward toxic and venomous behavior now get encouragement from the masses to lean into that societal dysfunction rather than correct it. There is far less resistance toward cruelty and viciousness even in our social justice movements.
The masks fell this year and we saw how many of our friends, family, and business associates are different than we expected. Would that have happened without social media? Without the protected bubble of speaking from a keyboard? We came to understand that our presumption that any normal, rational person would of course believe as we do was a wholly flawed idea. I would go so far as to say that it was a dangerous notion. We can no longer make eye contact with some of the people we adored in the past because we now cannot unsee the positions they publicly asserted.
The Revelation of Revelations
We have become the Morlocks and the Eloi. The monsters are not just due on Maple Street, they are here. We took off our black Wayfarer sunglasses and now can see the demons amongst us. That is a dangerous way to live.
Quarantining was just the beginning of our isolation. Even when people flooded the beaches and BBQ parties despite all warnings, we were still metaphorically so far away from each other. We can no longer read social cues from one another because half of our faces are hidden by masks just to keep us alive. This leaves us feeling vulnerable and reactionary, so we lash out before others can hurt us.
I want to go back to not knowing where the monsters are. I was raised a Christian and was fervent about my Christianity well into my teens. Even back then, I didn’t want the Rapture, even though it meant I would be beaming and rejoicing on the right hand side of Jesus. The idea of all the Rapture entailed terrified me. Now, I am less afraid of the Rapture and more afraid of the revelations because that knowledge won’t go away.
In this apocalypse, our four horsemen are Greed, Fanaticism, Ignorance, and Violence. They are what will do us in, even if it is the greed, fanaticism, ignorance, and violence of others. Those are the bastards we must avoid at all costs and are the very ones eating us alive.
The Revelation of My Plan
This plan is for me and my own choice of how to live in my world and not give into the dismay of what appears to be happening. We can’t control what others do, but we can be accountable for who we are. We can refuse to add to the aggregate of misery out there.
That being the case, I am going to cling tightly to My People (in my heart – social distancing and all), to those who I can trust to be good humans. I will treasure them more and be more plugged in and present for them. I refuse to give into the negativity and let it into me. My goal is to vibrate light from where I am, whenever I can. Our greatest revelation can be that as hard as all this is, we still have the power to shift the world by refusing to give into the fear and jadedness that beckons so seductively.
Who knew that Wyld Stallyns had it right all along?
Just be excellent to each another.