By Andrew Ryan Duckworth
Most of the world in deep despair, As the Heavens quake and the wrath declared. But the world grows cold and souls are sold When spiritually asleep and unaware. Drowning... Drowning in a lake of rage, Prepared for the wicked since the earliest age. Drowning... Drowning in a sea of despair, Unable to make our way up for air. Drowning... Drowning under the weight of our faults, Our faults, our faults, our most grievous faults. But our Mea Culpa contains no apology. Humanity swims in an ocean of pride Drowning beneath waves of lies Awaiting the day our soul finally dies, When spiritually asleep and unaware.
Perhaps it is a bit pessimistic… But there has not been a day that goes by when I’m not proven correct in some way. We are proud, cruel, resentful, selfish, demanding… And that is on a good day. I’m afraid bad days might take up several paragraphs worth of material. No one is exempt. We all helped to create the current state of things. Every single day, we sprint closer and closer to Hell with a smile on our face, as if it is something to be proud of, some sort of achievement. There isn’t a news report anymore that doesn’t in some way reference our hatred for others. As a spiritual person, I understand what all of it means.
Not long ago, I reflected on The Apocalypse of John. At a point in my life, I looked at this writing with skepticism. The imagery seems hard to believe: Beasts, a supernatural desecration of the Earth, a lamb with seven eyes, etc. But, just like most ancient works of the time, further readings of the text are required. The text is written from the perspective of a man named John, sure, but also consider the setting. John is viewing these things from a heavenly perspective, as he stands among the thrones of Heaven. In that respect, the imagery of the text doesn’t seem all that unimaginable. The holy sees through the veil that the unholy hides behind to carry out its destruction. Being wicked creatures ourselves, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that we are not able to see clearly.
Does this mean that I stand by a literal interpretation of the Revelation to John? Not entirely. At this point, I’m not really sure that I take a hard stance on any particular interpretation. I suppose one could say that I am still in the process of interpreting, reflecting. But I will say that there has never been a time when I looked at the world around me in such a way that I do today. Even during the Iraq War of the early 2000’s, when everyone was buckling up saying “this is it! The end of the World any day now!” I had hope. Now, I can safely say that I no longer have hope in humanity. We give ourselves no reason to be hopeful. The end of the world… It seems closer to becoming a reality now than it ever has before from my perspective. In my short 32 years, this might seem a bit naive. But unless people come back to a place of love, to a place of decency, to a place of approachability, of understanding, I fear that we are crafting our end of days in spectacular fashion. Unless we wake up, unless we start realizing what is important, we are doomed. Unless we start recognizing our faults and asking for forgiveness, we can erase “hope” as a word containing meaning.
Growing up as a Catholic was valuable. While Catholicism often gets the reputation of holding people to guilt, perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad thing if people felt guilt every now and then. Having explored other branches of Christianity, I’ve come to realize that all of these branches have something important to offer: unique perspective and tools for understanding. While denominations often squabble needlessly, perspective is what matters. Some approach subjects differently than others. That is okay. When we start losing what is important, what unites each of us, that is when we fall.
For those who do not subscribe to Christianity, or for those with no faith at all, I can’t really say that I blame anyone. For too long, Christianity has been the same monstrous face that can be found many different places, offering no hope and no peace. If it is one thing that I have learned, however, particularly with this dreadful year, 2020, it is that we cannot rely on any earthly thing. There is something greater than ourselves, something that does not come from ourselves, something that we should look towards and I’ve finally gotten to a point where I’m unashamed to say it. While I no longer have faith in humanity, I do have faith in a loving God, but perhaps a God that has had a bit too much of our ridiculousness. I think the time is coming, and soon, when we will be held accountable. I am by no means perfect and no one is. I will continue to make mistakes as everyone will. That is why I believe it is so important to look beyond the self, to look beyond this Earthly plane of existence, and look to true hope and true peace through Christ.
This writing is the work of its author, Andrew Ryan Duckworth, and can in no way be reproduced, copied, or distributed in any form without request from the author.