It was in Sutra class back in the spring of 2008, the class was discussing the topic of the world coming to an end.

Sparked by all the talk about 2012, our teacher had assigned us an essay describing how we thought the end would come. There were many variations on the theme: meteors, flu epidemics, evil dictators. All possibilities, our teacher said, but we didn’t quite hit the nail on the head. We never found out what she was thinking, because the class ended for the summer and we let it drop.

Flash ahead to fall 2008 and the US economy crashing through the floor of the Stock Exchange. I’m sitting at my desk in Corporate America, watching a CNN feed showing the staff of Lehman Brothers leaving their NYC building. The light bulb went off as I watched the “worker bees”, the level that I can relate to, with their belongings in cardboard boxes heading for the subway station. I realized… their world just came to an end. I would think that landing a job at Lehman, a Wall Street staple for 158 years, would come with a certain feeling of security and now that security had not only been an illusion, that illusion left them unemployed at the beginning of one of the worst financial downturns in US history.

Since then, I’ve thought more about people and the situations they find themselves in. Parents of  missing children; victims of natural disasters; people in health crisis. The list goes on and on – just read the newspaper. Their world has ended, their reality has changed in such a fundamental way that it changes their core.

What will the next big world-ending thing be? Part of me doesn’t even want to find out  (ignorance is bliss!). However, I believe that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger; indeed, it’s the reason your world ends.

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