I had a dream that I died.
I think it was a car-crash or something. I remember glass breaking, looking out a broken window at a fire raging near the gas-tank. I remember hearing a sound so loud I couldn’t hear it at all, a light so bright I didn’t even have to walk down the tunnel.
But that was not the worst dream I ever had.
The worst dream I ever had came about two weeks later. I was talking to someone (in the dream) one of my writing gurus, the man who had written one of my favorite films of all time, whom I had met a few months earlier at a screenwriting conference.
I was telling the man a story about battles in space, a sci-fi arc I’d been working on, and he kept telling me to raise the stakes. So I imagined Nicholas Scatterhull escaping on his ship from a planet crumbling through seismic instability–the end of the world.
No. Not a dying planet. A dying star, gasping its last and taking the entire system down with it.
Perhaps not a single star, but a cluster in the galaxy’s center, like in Larry Niven, all supernova’d at once, and wiping out the galaxy.
I was talking to my guru about this when suddenly–that white light again, the end of the tunnel, swallowing me up, and my dying thought realizing that this time, it wasn’t just me. The light itself was dying. And it was taking everything with it.
Voyager hasn’t even left our solar system yet. We are alone in the dark, and know of no one who can help us. No one who might even know about us. This means that, in any given situation, no matter how dire, the single worst thing that can ever happen, the worst case scenario, is the destruction of our sun.
It would take just over eight minutes to reach us, and assuming the blast comes at the speed of light, we will never know.
It would destroy not only every human life, but every human endeavor. Every memory, every monument, every accomplishment put forth by every single living being in the history of the planet, would be extinguished.
I wrote this at a time before we knew (for sure) that the Mayan Apocalypse wasn’t going to destroy the world on December 21st, 2012. If you are reading this, the world has not ended yet, even now.
If you are reading this, the sun still shines, no brighter than it did the day before.
The waves still crash against the rocks, clawing at the moon.
People die, but are also born.
People fight, but make love as well.
And their endeavors are remembered. They are meaningful.
If you are reading this, there is still hope.
If the sun has not exploded, whatever is bothering you, whatever has made you upset, is not the worst thing that could have happened.
It is not the end of the world.
You can be sad. I will understand, and not hold it against you. But it is still possible to be happy.