When my youngest brother was a small child, he would take the smallest circumstance and extrapolate it into a huge calamity.
“What if (this tiny cut on my finger) were wrapped in a great big bandage”, he’d say, for instance, “and a big flood came down the river, and the levee sprang a leak, and the only way we could live is if I could use both hands fast enough to pack the leak with dirt.”
“And I couldn’t do it because my finger is bandaged, and we would all drown”, and he would sob uncontrollably.
My other siblings and I would stare at him in awe, amazed that he was creative enough to imagine a future full of catastrophe.
Flash forward another generation, and another family member has developed similar scenarios, but now, not only on a grander scale, but also in the greater company of like-minded individuals who will tolerate only their own mindset. For now, the end of existence of nonbelievers is just around the corner and only they, and others who come to their same understanding, will experience everlasting life.
They will brook no debate on the issue, but instead drown out any objections or other points of view by referring to their own interpretations of written sources or internet truths.
This is uncomfortable for me to be around. First, I flat don’t like to be wrong, and I find it impossible to buy into the thought that I MUST believe a certain way, or be lost to eternal nothingness. Second, I don’t like controversy (Mom said, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”), so I prefer not to try to discuss the matter. Third, what if I AM wrong? What can I do to adjust my thinking? There seems no way at all to hitch my wagon to the right star, here, because I will obviously be caught out as a hypocrite. When that truth comes out, will my fate be even worse?
The more I muse about these things, the more I am reminded of my little brother and his ability to catastrophize the smallest incident. That memory snaps me back to the rhythm of my daily life, where I appreciate the miracles around me and where I anticipate with joy the moments next to come…whatever they may be.