Friday, December 30, 2011

They Are Legion, Part One

What if the Rapture came, and you missed it?

I'm not talking about being "left behind." That's all of us, everyone who's left on Earth. All the people who looked around and realized that their children were gone, all the people who looked up and realized that the car beside them suddenly had no driver, all the people who came home to empty beds or empty houses or empty neighborhoods.

But there were some of us who missed the whole thing. I, for example, had taken a couple of days off after Finals to go camping with my girlfriend. Two college students all alone in the woods at the end of their Junior year: you can imagine what all we we were doing. Maybe that's why we got left behind. Maybe, and maybe not.

Anna, you see, is very bright in her way. She can grasp complex ideas, do equations in her head, and memorize things in ways that I can't even begin to match. Unfortunately, she tends to take any idea she's given, and run with it. I'm smart in other ways; I can speak English, Spanish, and French (and read a fair amount of Latin), and I tend to withhold judgement and not take things at face value. Mine is the sort of intelligence that wants to do a lot of research, look for origins and evidence and support, and tends to ask uncomfortable and unwelcome questions.

That may be why Anna was still a Christian (nominally, at least) while I was... not. On the other hand, we came back from our trip to discover that everyone - everyone - under the age twelve had disappeared, along with a fair amount of the adult population... and the adult statistics skewed heavily to certain strains of Christianity. Nobody knew how heavily, because nobody can organize a census that quickly, but even the preliminary, anecdotal information was fairly convincing. When the police department notices that eighty percent of their missing persons calls concern members of a certain church, and further investigation can locate only four or five people from a congregation of over one hundred, that's pretty convincing. So maybe I shouldn’t consider my disbelief a product of my intelligence, if you see what I mean.

And yes, I know that everyone who's reading this now has been through it themselves, and remembers how it happened. I'm not writing this part down for you. I'm writing it down for our children, if we have any, if the world lasts that long. If there's one thing you learn studying history, it's just how much information gets lost. It's frightening how fast knowledge can disappear - a generation, maybe less, if it isn't needed or isn't wanted.

So that's what happened to us: we went into the woods, and when we came out the world had changed.