Saturday, April 12, 2014

We can live here for the rest of our lives…

As episode 4.10 ("Inmates") of The Walking Dead opens, we see two of our favorite characters   - Beth and Daryl - desperately making their way through the woods, having to fight and run from zombies for their lives. Overlaying these intense scenes is a narration from Beth's diary, where she wrote about how they had finally found a place she felt safe. You see, in this world after a zombie apocalypse, the few people left are always on the run, always trying to find a way to survive the danger and death that constantly surrounds them. But not too long ago, Beth's group had found a prison where they could settle down, grow crops, and begin to feel safe.

But it all was shattered in an instant, and now they were on the run again. So the show simultaneously shows how their fragile state of security is gone (visually) while reminding us of the illusion with the audio voiceover. Powerful. And as Beth and Daryl collapse in exhaustion and look up at vultures circling overhead, we hear the final words of her diary entry:
We can live here…we can live here for the rest of our lives.
But they couldn't. And neither can we.

I look at my life and I see how easy it is for us to convince ourselves of the same lie Beth believed...
  • When I was a child, I had a routine of playing with my friends, coming home to dinner with family, going to bed and start it over again the next day. It was never going to end. And then I grew up and everything changed.
  • In high school, I had a group of friends and we were almost inseparable. What great times we had. And then, we graduated. I seldom see any of them anymore.
  • As a young adult, I was blessed to be close to my family as we all stayed in our hometown.  I bought a house next door to my sister and her family, and it seemed like I would grow old hanging out with them. And then a tragic accident claimed her life. Nothing would ever be the same.
On and on I could go, and so could you. Jobs are lost. Friends move away. Kids grow up and leave home. Loved ones die. People disappoint us. Whenever we get to thinking like Beth that we can live like this forever, we can be sure that we are wrong.

Life is good. I like the way things are. But I'd better not be putting my security in the way things are, because it won't last forever. I need something bigger. Something that will.

Later in that same episode, a different group of characters from the prison is on the run like Beth and Darryl. Carol and Tyrese encounter a man who is dying from a zombie attack, and he tells them to follow the railroad tracks. Carol thinks it's safer to travel in the cover of the woods. But the man's last words to them are this:
No, you don't understand. There's a place…up the tracks…it's safe. You can take the children there.Trust me…please. Follow the tracks.
 As we begin Holy Week, the death and resurrection of Jesus tells us that there is a place of safely. There is something that we can put our trust in that won't change, that won't fail us. If our hope is in the comfort of our surroundings - in our present circumstances - we will be disappointed. But if we look, so to speak, down the tracks, we can see a place of safety. The Messiah came and was proclaimed KIng, and he will come back again, bringing the world we long for every time we are rocked by life circumstances.

No, we can't live here for the rest of our lives. We have got to keep moving, keep living, keep fighting. But one day there will be such a place.

Trust me, please. Follow the tracks.

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