I said I would never do it. If there was even a hint that I would be able to hear it, or witness any part of it, I would flee. Then one night things changed. My husband implored, “just once.” He had been doing it for years, and because life had recently been hard for us, I thought the sacrifice might draw us closer. So I gave in.
I started watching "The Walking Dead".
“Just one episode”, he said, but he knew. He knew if I saw one, the human plight would draw me in, even though I HATE zombies.
I have now seen every episode released, and still think zombies are the most deplorable fictional monsters around. I can deal with Frankenstein’s monster, werewolves, and vampires (even when they sparkle). But zombies? Nope. I just can’t. Yet our culture seems to be obsessed with them, and apparently I have been pulled in to the tide. "World War Z" by Max Brooks was one of the most fascinating fictional critiques on social structure, infectious disease, and crisis economy I have ever read. It became my unintentional gateway drug, and it’s clear I’m not the only one.
As a culture, we seem unable to let go of this latest monster fad. We put these fiendish biters in books where they don’t belong (I am looking at you, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies"). The networks keep giving them more air time, and movie after movie appears as Netflix lures us in to binge on just one more.
I abhor these nasty undead creepers, because they represent a creature without hope. These decaying walkers are absent of a soul. Dracula, Mary Shelly’s monster, and even the headless horseman had relatable qualities, but not zombies. All they want to do is eat other people. Gross. Come on. They give in to the hunger of their most base desire with no ability to consider what the rest of us deem important: love, loyalty, or legacy. So why do we love them so much?
We are drawn to these monstrosities because we relate to being chased by something purely carnal. We know the battle of the flesh versus the spirit and are wrestling with it day in and day out. Our favorite sins are always just behind us, crouching at our door, ready to devour us.
I deplore the dilapidated savages for eating my fictional TV friends, but my animosity for the real life evil that wants to eat us up rages even more. I hate when I see it in my own self. The repercussions of my own carnality are the memories that make up the most terrifying moments of my own story. I have known the horror of giving myself over to depraved temptations and have seen it eat away not only at my own soul, but ravage the souls of those around me.
But in real life depravity, Jesus whispers hope. I have been greeted with the beauty of forgiveness that relieves the weight of those awful memories.
Instead of being beckoned by the nearest pleasure that feeds on the life of others, I want to pursue life instead of death. I resolve not to sacrifice others to meet my own demands. Instead, I want to lay my life down for my friends, even if that means I let pieces of me die.
I like to think that I would be able to dust off my rusty archery skills and take out soulless evil, but in the here and now, I will not eat my other humans. I will fight the good fight alongside them, as we all search for the things that lead us to true eternal life.
An earlier version of this post first appeared at Venn Magazine.