Hope Before The End Of The World

Hope Before The End Of The World

Sometimes I think on how the world is going to end, but we can still stop it.
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Everybody remembers what they thought on December 20, 2012. If the Mayan Calendar prediction came true, then the world would end. Whether it was a bang, or a whimper, or a polar shift of the continents, the world we knew would dissipate into ash and fire, drowned in waters and split apart. I also thought about my life up to that point—how it wasn’t finished yet, how I could’ve done more, and how I would like to see myself should everyone I know die at this point.

Fortunately, December 21, 2012 came and went with nothing of incidence happening; for example, I went to school, the last day before winter break, went to bed, and woke up to a new day. I had more time to do all the things I wanted to do and had to in my life.

Now, five years later, I had the impression that the world may come to a blistering end, a feeling which festered in me since last year’s election. The events which transpired in the following days made it seem more apocalyptic, to the point where I think about survival sometimes, and even write poetry like this one here.

Curse the flames which arise to the sun,

Where the embers have clouded

And smoke has won.

Curse the trail of ashes among its wake,

A prelude to a naïve strike,

To which a wretched king makes.

Traveling through former wetlands,

Now dried to bare branches,

He raises his hand, to bring out the wolves.

Snarling, hissing, teething,

They rush forward, only to lose their bite,

All because the conditions are naught.

The arms of the devil only hold malevolence

And hypocrisy, weaving blankets of gold

Only for those who pay it all.

They embrace until they strangle,

Giving more until it’s impossible to not take

From its bosom, ever so cold.

As the world freezes and

The utter bitterness of the fallout sets in,

Nobody wakes up from the surrealist dream,

Lest it collapses on them.

Waking up, with ashes on their lips,

They pray for nothing, as even the gods died

With a breath of smoke, nothingness included.

However, with a lot of people sending money to a variety of causes, protesting against policies through contacting their officials or going up to their offices, and using that to create art to address such issues, I hold hope we may abort an apocalypse of multiple proportions, whether it be the accelerating effects of climate change or nuclear warfare.

If I learned anything in my twenty years of the world, it is that life doesn’t play out like in the movies. We are protagonists to our own stories alone, but minor characters if not antagonists to everyone else’s. In the context of fighting off catalysts of any local, if not international, cataclysm, it’s not something expansive, with one great final battle against all the forces of nature—if not each other. It’s all the little details and actions which make people more aware about the horrors a changed planet would be, as a result of negligence of science or diplomatic means.

John F. Kennedy once said in a UN General Assembly speech, “We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world--or to make it the last.” These words still ring true today, if not more so, in terms of what direction we want to take the world.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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American Or Christian?

Can you really be both?

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This is a thought that has lingered in my mind for a very long time.

Personally, I hate news and politics. It's depressing and it seems like both parties (and people in general) just don't get it. Political conversation gets on my ever-loving nerves and literally gets me down in the dumps for the day.

I just simply don't watch it anymore. There is too much negativity.

That doesn't mean that I am uniformed. I am not advocating for ignorance or anything like that. I prefer to read and figure out my information from sites "in the middle."

As I was eating dinner with my wife the other day we started talking about the new Abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia. As a Christ-follower and a staunch defender of Biblical inerrant, I detest abortion.

Before you read any farther, you must understand something: This article is not about my defense of my beliefs regarding hot topics like abortion or homosexuality. I do not have the time to write about said topics now. I am just asking you to accept what I believe for the sake of the article.

But, anyway, these abortion bills. I can make a pretty good case that they are Constitutional because they are protecting the Life (one of the Rights given to American Citizens) from others. Yes, I know the arguments against said point but continue with me please.

This led our conversation to talk about Homosexual marriage, something that I am against as well. And not just because of Leviticus but because of the New Testament as well.

But, shaking my head, I said something that my wife seemed to agree with:

"As a Christian, I know it's wrong and I cannot agree with it. As an American, I see no reason why it should be illegal. Unless your choices infringe someone's Rights, you should be free to do what you wish (technically speaking)."

This is my dilemma. Well, actually it's not a dilemma. I know that I am a Christian before I am an American. I love this country greatly, and I know how blessed I am to be born here. For all the hate this country gets (and some of it is deserved) and all the problems we have (and we have a lot), we are shoulders above other countries in many ways. I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served to protect me and keep me safe. I'm thankful for a lot of things. And I am proud to be an American.

But my identity in Christ comes first. This is why I do not get into politics much. I don't really care at the end of the day. Because while America has been blessed, we still have work to do here. And this is not my forever home. This is not where I will spend eternity.

I try and respect everyone's opinions, and I earnestly try to love everyone, even when they trash and disrespect my beliefs and convictions. But I must put my call to Christ about anything that has to do with this nation. I will pray for ALL our leaders because I was told to do so (I prayed for President Obama when he was in office). And I will be here to support this nation. But I cannot put it above Christ's commands.

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