Timothy waited in breathless anticipation. His hopes were high and he knew with absolute certainty that the Rapture was about to happen on the other side of the world. He had read the literature, he had listened to Harold Camping's messages on the radio. There was no way that this was not going to happen.
In preparation for the end, he had been telling everyone he knew to get ready. After all, he had friends in his life that he knew he wanted to see in Heaven. When you enjoy spending time with people, wouldn't that translate into eternity?
Tim had given serious consideration to selling everything he owned. He thought about putting his house on the market, but knew that, in this economy, there's no way it would sell before Judgment Day. He was going to sell his car and then donate the money to be used to print more tracts to spread the news, but his family intervened.
They didn't believe. They couldn't understand how Tim could be so sure that the Rapture would happen on May 21, 2011. They had been nice enough to not call Camping a whack job, like most of the public had taken to doing. Timothy knew that was probably his family's opinion of Camping, but he appreciated them not voicing it.
But Tim humored them. He chose to keep his car. He still used a good chunk of his savings to print more literature about the impending Rapture. Some of his friends and family tried to go further with their arguments. For some it wasn't enough that Tim wasn't getting rid of all his things. For some, they just wanted to be right and wanted him to be wrong. But all they could come at him with was the verse in Matthew when Jesus says, "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
If that was all they had, Tim figured they didn't have much. These friends weren't biblical scholars like Mr. Camping was. Camping had facts to back up his numbers. There was more to biblical prophecy than Matthew 24:36. Tim tried to point this out, wanting desperately for his friends to be saved. But they wouldn't listen. They just went on with their lives. He could tell that they were disappointed in Tim's choice to believe, but it was his belief. He could only attempt explain it to them, he couldn't force it on them.
And now, May 21 was upon him. Tim sat in front of his TV with it tuned to CNN as the hours ticked away. It was nearly midnight. That meant it would soon be 6pm on the other side of the world, on Christmas Island, where the Rapture would really begin. He waited for the urgent news coverage telling the world that the earthquakes had begun. He was literally on the edge of his seat.
And there was no breaking news. Anderson Cooper signed off. Piers Morgan was a repeat from earlier in the night. No word of an earthquake on Christmas Island.
Tim was a little disappointed, but was undeterred. It was only midnight where he was in Maryland. He could wait up a few more hours. Maybe there just wasn't a news outlet available right away on Christmas Island to report that the Rapture had begun. Maybe he would have to wait to hear about a more populated place like New Zealand or Australia.
And still, there was no breaking news.
He went to bed early that Saturday morning feeling lost and confused. Timothy still wanted so badly to believe that he would be raptured with the true believers when 6pm rolled around to his own time zone. But it was harder to believe unconditionally when it seemed that it wasn't happening like it was supposed to.
Where was the earthquake? Why weren't people vanishing from the face of the earth? Why weren't they being called into Heaven?
Tim's sleep was restless that night. He woke early on Saturday and immediately checked newsfeeds on the internet, hoping to find out that someone had made a mistake and just simply not reported the news that earthquakes had, indeed, been striking the other side of the planet. But there were no reports of the global earthquake.
By this point, most of the world had passed through the evening. Some of the planet was well into May 22. He had been duped. A lot of people had been duped.
How could he have been so wrong? How could Harold Camping have been so wrong? Were his numbers simply off? Tim never considered himself to be a particularly stupid or gullible person, yet he had somehow been taken in by Camping's sheer certainty. He had even gone through Camping's reasoning and checked his math. Tim was so sure that Camping was right about all of it.
But he wasn't. He picked up his phone and called his brother.
"Tim," was all his brother could say when he answered. He let out a heavy sigh.
"Thank you, Jay," said Timothy.
Jay was a little confused. "For what?"
"For not answering with an 'I told you so.' For convincing me not to sell my car and all my things. For not being a jerk about all this when you very easily could have." Timothy was more than a little heartbroken. Jay could hear it in his voice.
"Hey, man, you're my brother," Jay started. He could hear that Timothy had started to cry. "Look, I may not hold to the same beliefs that you do, but that doesn't stop me from loving you just the same. I really do wish he had been right, because I hate to think about what you're going through right now."
Timothy sniffed and wiped tears away from his cheeks. He thanked his brother again and even apologized for trying to push his beliefs onto him and the rest of the family.
Jay cut him off. "You never have to apologize. I'm just sorry that you're hurting so badly right now. I'm sorry for all of Camping's flock. There are a lot of you out there who are probably in need of a shoulder to cry on."
"Tell you what, why don't you come on over here and we'll have a cook-out. Stacy can go to the store when she gets the kids from soccer practice. We'll grill up some steaks and have a not-quite-the-end-of-the-world party. How 'bout it?"
Tim could appreciate what his brother was trying to do for him. He didn't much feel like celebrating, but he couldn't turn him down either. Maybe a night with his family would be exactly what he needed. Life would go on. He figured he may as well start living it a little more from here on out.
Today's prompt comes from Sunday Scribblings.