Recently, I read a post on Zombie Marriages, and reminding people not to go through the motions of a relationship, but to actively engage in loving each other. It struck me that the tips about life being more than survival apply to all of us.
This past eighteen months, we’ve survived, but not thrived. We’ve tried to figure out how to stay safe, but we’ve bubble wrapped and masked our selves to the point of not engaging with others, and it’s left us wondering, what were we fighting so hard to survive for? We wanted the more that seemed at our fingertips before all this pandemic started, and seems still out of reach now.
Being alive and thriving requires that we live for others, we do for others. Life becomes more abundant when we go out our doors, when we care for those around us, when we garden or walk a pet or meet our neighbors or plan a date or a party. Life involves sending cards and making phone calls, being busy not for busy-ness sake, but because we have many to serve, many to attend to, many we must through little things show great love.
The Zombie apocalypse isn’t an infestation that decays the body, it decays the soul. When we become a world of islands that do not engage each other except on our own terms, and who will not cease scrolling or scanning our phones for affirmation in favor of affirming someone in our presence, that is the break down of society. When we condemn anyone reflexively because they irritated us or said the wrong thing, or likewise celebrate the taking down or dismissing of another for their failure to tow whatever the current correct line is, we enable our society to become something less than human, less than healthy, less than holy.
Real life involves feeding people, inviting them in, and hearing their stories. Real life that strengthens our collective community involves being present when it’s not safe in some way, even if we are masked up and vaccinated. Zombies only succeed when we decide being human isn’t worth fighting for, isn’t something we’re going to fight to maintain. It’s why my fellow blogger talked about taking deliberate steps to cultivate one’s marriage. Being human is deliberate, it is a willed act of love.
So if you’re feeling like now is flat, now is dull, now lacks inspiration or luster or joy, there is a cure. It involves going out your door, looking around, and finding who it is that needs serving. Serve them, and you won’t be quite so hungry yourself.
In my class, I tell the students, a good story is never just a story. Zombie stories are about the fear of losing what makes us a society, a community, human. Radically isolated individually served only appetite unchecked leads to decay and death. What allows people to survive in the stories, is what allows us to survive in real life, holding together, and holding onto what matters, which is always something more than survival.
In case you need a seasonal reminder: https://youtu.be/LtJFx5sAzDo