By Bailey Bickerstaff
Due to the recent outbreak (excuse me, one case) of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S., many people are concerned about this problem. And when I say concerned, I really mean people are freaking out. Though doctors say Ebola is only passed through the body fluids of the infected, the general populace is convinced they will catch Ebola before the weekend has passed.
I, too, became a wee bit concerned when I realized that I was traveling to Dallas, where the case had been identified, this weekend. Being a history nerd, I immediately thought of the Black Death. Brought over by rats to Europe, the Bubonic Plague killed an estimated one-third to one-half of Europe’s population. Remebering this, I immediately wondered, “What if Ebola is the modern-day Black Death? What if this sickness takes out America?”
The rythms of life are determined by the people. And in this day and age, we are a people dominated by fear. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of the stock market, fear of the government failing, fear of death. We run around, screaming about what-ifs and our taxes. We live under the umbrella of uncertainty and an unjustified bitterness.
We create, recognize, and obsses over what-ifs every day. The life-changing idea, that when we realize will change our entire aspect on life, is that life is one giant what-if. I could die before my fingers finish typing this sentence, or I could die on the way home from school. You could live for fifty more years, or you could die before you finish reading my sentence.. Are you still there? Okay good. Our entire existence is a perilous one, filled with small moments of brief expectancy.
Some what-ifs are bigger and heavier than others: the failure of America, the end of your life, and the most terrifying, urgent, earth shattering what-if of all: wait for it.. Global warming. However, when we realize that every moment is an existentially fraught what-if, and we rest in the comfort of eternity, the small moments become bigger and bigger moments. Life is not a nice ride in a sailboat on a nice spring day, but rather a beating on a dhingy in a storm. The ship could break apart at any moment. However, we have a God who is not surprised by the storm; we have a God who is in it.
So, in conclusion, the what-ifs in life are really not what-ifs at all.
Now if you will excuse me, I need to finish reading my assigned short story; I might have a pop reading quiz. And that, my friend, is a scarier what-if than global warming.