The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Minutes to Midnight?

If you have not ever heard of it, perhaps it would be wrong of me to 'enlighten' you. If you live your life with ease and comfort and pure optimistic delight (and blinded naivete), who am I to spoil, not just your day, but the rest of your life? But then again, who am I to second-guess the sober directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists from the University of Chicago? These serious men have been predicting the end of the world since 1947. Should we not harken to their doomsday warnings, and reduce our daily joys to fear and trembling?

It was during the ever present threat of nuclear devastation, pervasive throughout the 'cold war', that the original 'doomsday clock' was designed and published in the Bulletin. With 1440 minutes given us in each day, the forecasters in Chicago decided that in 1947, we were merely 7 minutes in metaphorical time from the end of life as we know it. Considering the pace of the arms race, combined with the psychological unknowns of world leaders who had push-button destruction at their fingertips, a world wide disaster appeared to be imminent.

The big hand was moved to 3 minutes to midnight already by 1949 when the Soviets tested their first atomic bomb, and to 2 minutes in 1953 when the two major powers tested new weapons within 9 months of each other. The poor minute hand might have been broken by now for all of the 19 back and forth adjustments it has gone through over the years. In 1991 it reached its most hopeful place ever at 17 minutes to midnight, and currently, after its latest move in 2010 is at 6. Perhaps an official measure of cultural optimism should be instituted; the minuto. As in: “Yes it looks like rain, but I'm at 18 minutos, so I'm not even going to take my umbrella!”

So a bunch of scientists evaluate the current political scene and try to judge how unstable the world's leaders may or may not be feeling, and then publish a big clock where the 'club' hand threatens to end it all at the assumed cursed hour of midnight! And the rest of us are supposed to accept their politically driven opinion as some sort of divine prophecy? Rest assured oh mighty professors, we little people are fully aware that our bills are due, and must be paid. Our individual deaths are coming. The birth rate may rise and fall according to whim and whimsy, and your toy clock hands will move forward and back in your 'scientific' play, but the death rate will always be 100%.

Photo by JM Enterprises
(Josh Miller)
Sometimes I wonder how the 'I' will die. Like my Mother, after a four month onslaught of cancer? Or my Father, who died suddenly a few days after bypass surgery. Perhaps I will be horribly murdered by some kind of random maniac, or slip on a tiny patch of ice and hit my head on the one hard object in the snow. Maybe I will contract some weird disease that catches one in 3 million, or sink into the oblivion of Alzheimer’s. I might hope for a quick heart attack, in my sleep, especially, or better yet, to drown miserably after rescuing some toddlers from a raging river. I've already had my 'inevitable' fall off a roof, but it could happen again with more than a few broken ribs this time resulting.

I wonder sometimes, but I don't really care how I die. Knowing that I will is enough. And knowing that I have repented from my natural rebellious state, that my sins (and my sinfulness) are forgiven, and that my Savior, Jesus Christ, is waiting to welcome me home in heaven, is much more than enough.

If the midnight hour must be maligned by our scientists as the symbol of doom, then let me assure them that whatever form their personal end takes at that nocturnal point, time will continue after that double-handed vertical alignment. Where we spend that continuing time, whether with God by the turning of our hearts toward Him and simply abiding by His 'dress code', or away from God like someone pridefully refusing the open invitation to come, is up to us. The Midnight hour can be either enchantingly beautiful, or grotesquely dreadful. It all depends on where we stand with Christ.

... people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment
Hebrews 9:27


  1. Very nice blog, Mike. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. =)

  2. LOVE that picture.....((hugs)) and so totally believe "on earth as it is in heaven" through you ..through me....without judgment of doom or fear. "be anxious for nothing" the nothing ..can hit us right before midnight..requests are known..but truly its all in Gods hands..THANK GOD! and Jesus for His Precious Blood..we rejoice! even when hot streams streak our face, lost my dad too four months ago. So hear your voice thank you

  3. What a lovely picture and what a thought provoking piece. The end is inevitable and I, like you, fear not. This earth time I have been given has been incredible and I look forward to my hereafter with a loving heart. Great write.

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  5. My hubby and I decided, years ago, that we will be lucky--living until we are both very, very old and then simply cuddling up to sleep one night and both moving on during the night, my head on his chest, his arm around me. Ah, that'd be nice, neither of having to experience the painful loss of the other. One can hope.

    As far as anticipating death, I do not fear it. That doesn't mean that I'm in any rush, but when my time comes, I'll be okay.

  6. Beautiful take on the subject. I don't fear death either. And I love this line: time will continue after that double-handed vertical alignment...

  7. Another 2 months and I turn 57, and I am at the age where I am very conscious of my own clock ticking away.

    It never used to worry me about dying, but the older I get, the more I realise I am not prepared for the inevitable, that gets a little closer every day.

  8. Your post reminds me of my own 1 minute until midnight moment several years ago. We were under tornado watch. The weather outside was terrible. According to the many weather warnings, the tornado cell was very close to my home. I lay in my bed with the remote control to the TV in my hand while I flipped from station to station for news. I was full of anxiety. The next day would be a work day and it was getting very late. Then, suddenly, I thought how silly that was when all I had to do was trust the Lord and go to sleep. So I did. The next morning, my husband told me that he didn't know how I slept through the tornado that went by my home so close that it sounded like we lived right by the train track. We were safe with no property damage. Six people died in that storm. I trusted God.


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