Today’s guest blogger is, once again, Vanessa Fischer,
who has been raised from the dead
and is learning how to live and love without walls.
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“The battle over flesh and blood cannot compare to the battle for the heart.”
~ Ted Dekker
I recently watched the movie Warm Bodies, adapted from a book written by the brother of a friend’s friend. While my next statement will evoke an immediate judgment from most of you who read this, I loved it. I will be the first to admit that I am a sucker for teenage angst and those who fall under the “alive but dead” label (Interview With a Vampire) but that is not what drew me into this movie. For those who will only read the back cover, it is a zombie movie. For those willing to look for something a little more, it is a story we can all relate to – a story of loss, love, and how the most unsuspecting relationships can help us find our way again.
Julie is being raised in a post-apocalyptic world where a huge wall separates the living from the dead – literally. She lives with the remaining humans within the wall. R lives outside the wall with the zombies and bonies. It has been hard-wired into every human that the zombies are the enemy; that the only solution is to destroy them all and preserve the remaining life that they have left within their walls. As is so often the case, things are not as they appear.
“What’s wrong with me? I just want to connect. Why can’t I connect with people? Oh, right, it’s because I’m dead. I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I mean, we’re all dead. This girl is dead. That guy is dead. That guy in the corner is definitely dead. Jesus these guys look awful.” ~R
Not the response you would typically expect from a heart-eating zombie. But, isn’t this what we all truly long for – to be seen, and heard and known? To connect. Yet, we all build walls to insulate, protect, and keep at bay that which we are afraid of or don’t understand. We are created for connection but so many voices in our lives have told us otherwise. The voices have told us to stick with what is comfortable and familiar. Stick with those things that look alive and stay away from what appears to be dead. Stay within the walls. Only engage that which is like us and safe…even if you risk losing the very thing with which you so deeply desire to keep – your life.
Brene Brown, a research storyteller, shares these words about connection:
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
Connection requires risk. It requires the courage to step outside the walls and make ourselves vulnerable – even to the point of befriending someone who we believe wants to eat us or shoot us in the head. This is scary as hell. It always leaves the potential to cost us our lives. But without this risk – without this cost – are we really alive anyway? Sometimes we have to step outside ourselves and our world (inner and outer) to form a connection that will cause our hearts to start beating; our blood to start flowing; and our dead bones to start walking.
“No matter what… we stay together… we’re changing everything.” ~R
We are all dead in some way or another. We all have places where we have built unscalable walls. The story of Julie and R is no different from each of our own stories. We all need someone who can bring us back to life again. However scary or painful, love and connection – even with our sworn enemies – are the avenues through which we can move from death to life. This is what brings us back from the grave. It is possible. Just as the zombie hearts started to beat once again, so can ours. The walls that we have built can be torn down. The life that we think we have – or that we think we have lost – can be revived. It may end up even better than it was before. So friends take heart, have courage and wake up. Life is waiting for you.
“In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” ~Jesus