If you’re reading this it means the world hasn’t ended yet. Here’s some free advice: never trust anyone who gives you a date for the apocalypse. The Bible says it’ll be a complete surprise and not even Jesus knows the date. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it won’t happen when some looney-bug in the USofA says it will.

Life’s an ephemeral thing. It seems like only yesterday I was bringing my first child, my boy, home from hospital. I was scared stiff I’d do something awful like forget to feed him, or throw him out with the vegetable peelings. (I’ve lost a couple of good knives that way.) Now he’s about to turn mumble mumble… He’s older in his body than I am in my head! How did that happen so fast? I feel as though I haven’t quite got started yet, and I’m running out of years. Someone stop that hamster from spinning the wheel!

My friend, Jimmy, died this week. He had lung cancer and, considering his age and other health issues, he did well to last as long as he did. But, still…it always comes sooner than you expect. I’ll miss him. He was such a darling old man. Whenever he saw me, his arms would fling wide open and he’d tilt his head ready for a kiss. Then he’d start to sing: Take the ribbons from your hair…

He was a recovering alcoholic; he had trouble with his memory (thanks to the years on the booze); he had no teeth, and he needed a lot of care. On the face of it you’d be forgiven for thinking he didn’t contribute much to society, but that’s where you’d be wrong. He loved his wife, he loved his God, he loved his family and he loved everyone else he met. He had a heart full of love, a song on his lips (pretty much the same one: Take the ribbons…) and a ready laugh. He made us happy. He might have messed up in the early years, but he sure finished well.

I expect there are some now very embarrassed people in America, and there’ll be a plethora of “witty” ridicule from non-believers. (The members of the, “It’s the end of the world, let’s go looting” club are particularly classy.) But, I say, let’s treat this as a second chance to get it right. Let’s follow Jimmy’s example and spread the love, people.