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The End of the World Club #hiroshima #nagasaki #leonardcohen

What would you do if you knew it was the end of the world? OK that's a dark way to start a blog post on a site about Joy. But, here me out.

In these days of heightened global anxiety, it's something that's crossed my mind occasionally. It seems like world leaders like to play 'chicken' with each other threatening annihilation if they don't get their way while the rest of us sit on the sidelines and engage in political discourse that wouldn't mean a thing if a couple of superpowers got in a Twitter war and ended up pushing a few buttons as they tried to prove to the other who is the 'bigger' man. Sure, in this country, we should vote them out, but there are times lately when I wonder if we'll even make it to those all important November 2020 elections. 

HiroshimablogFor me, this is a topic that gets real every year around now during the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

What would YOU do if you knew that the bombs were coming in 24 hours and there was no way to stop them? I know the military would have ways to divert them/shoot them down in that time, but let's just imagine - you know you have 24 hours to live - the bomb is coming for your town - how are you going to spend them? 

For me, living in New York, I'm competing with a few million other people who would be trying to get out of town and I don't realistically think that I could get far enough away in those hours to 'get away from' the devastation - not with a few million other people trying to do the same thing. 

I think that I might not try. I think that I might simply stay here and make my peace. 

I would certainly get mad at leaders who screwed it all up (this is not directed at only one political party, by the way). I would lament the things that I, like we say in Church, have done and things that I have left undone. (And I would throw the biggest "let me speak to the manager!" fit EVER. :) 

And then, once that was all finished? I would be sad. I would lament the waste and the missed opportunities we had to make a better world for ourselves and the generations to come. I would mourn how much beauty would be forever lost - souls, vegetation, culture, creatures, knowledge - and I would cry until I had no more tears left to shed. 

And then I think that I would party. I would take my laptop up to the roof of my building and I would throw a dance party for whomever wanted to join us - and we'd drink and do whatever else we wanted to do.  

I might try to skype with friends far away, I might try to see friends who live in other parts of town; I wouldn't want anyone I loved to spend their last moments alone.

Ultimately, I think, I'd want to spend the last few hours in peace in Central Park. I think there would be thousands of others there too. Those that would want their final moments to be in nature, surrounding by all that is green and good and full of life. We would certainly pray for a better world to replace the one that we, collectively, had messed up. 

I would miss all of you and our rantings - talking about our failures and our successes- and our jokes and our stories, and I would hope that everyone faced the end in a brave, humane manner doing exactly what you feel it is right for you. 

I would hang on for the last minute.. because, truly, a country that can send a nuke halfway around the world surely can have a way to divert at the last minute.... and wouldn't you want to be here for THAT moment? (I think I may have just created an HBO show... 'what happens the day after the bombs don't fall? What is the world like THEN?" I expect a 10% cut thankyouverymuch).

But, right here and now (and here's where, I think, the Joy part comes in), I hope that we can find a way out of our present circumstances; that we can retain the hope that most of us cling to for a better world and a better society; that we can see that we still have time to right the wrongs, fix the problems we face, and see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is such beauty in the world, there are so many things to be proud of; so much happiness to be had. So many wonderful things here for us to live for.

I know. This last bit sounds very Pollyanna-ish, but I can still find hope and that's given some things that I've been through in my life. And, if I can do it, so can you. I have to hold on to that.

As Kate McKinnon as Hillary said on SNL "I'm not giving up and neither should you". Those are pretty great words to live by -- as are the below. Peace. 

O, gather 'round the brokenness
Bring it to me now
The fragrance of those promises
You never dared to vow

The splinters that you carried
The cross you left behind
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind

And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

Behold the gates of mercy
In arbitrary space
And none of us deserving
Of cruelty or the grace

O, solitude of longing
Where love has been confined
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind

O, see the darkness yielding
That tore the light apart
Come healing of the reason
Come healing of the heart

O, troubledness concealing
An undivided love
The heart beneath is teaching
To the broken heart above

And let the heavens utter
Let the earth proclaim
Come healing of the altar
Come healing of the name

O, longing of the branches
To lift the little bird
O, longing of the arteries
To purify the blood

And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

O let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

- Leonard Cohen