I’m not a big fan of monster movies or tv shows. So despite the fact that “The Walking Dead” has been a hit series for a few years, I’ve never watched an episode. Until the past few weeks, that is.
Now if you haven’t seen the show, the world has been overrun…never mind it’s a show about a zombie apocalypse…there are lots of zombies. You can probably figure out the rest.
As I mentioned, I’m not a fan of this kind of stuff, and watching countless zombie skulls crushed in various ways is not appealing to me. So I admit it, I block my iPad screen with my hand a lot. All that to say, while the gore/violence may be what appeals to some about the show, I think it is something else that has grabbed people, and made this show such a hit.
While the Walking Dead refer to the zombies, the show is about a small group of people trying to make a life in the midst of this new reality they find themselves in. They have come together for a common purpose (survival). And that purpose flows through everything they do. It is front and centre in every decision they make and every action they take.
A few things that have stood out.
- This group of people would not have hung out normally. They are way too different. Yet, the common purpose has given them an incredible sense of love and respect for each other. It didn’t happen overnight, but they built it.
- Individuals on this show at times make bad decisions. And this is the crazy part…they acknowledge them, forgiveness is given and they move on. They show incredible grace to each other.
- When one of the group is hurt (physically or emotionally), they step out of action for a while. During that time they are cared for. They are encouraged to take the time they need. Their value, and previous contribution is acknowledged. And they are consistently challenged to move forward and get back in action.
- Looking out for each other, and sacrificing for one another is normative.
- They don’t all come together once or twice a week to hear an expert talk about zombies, and then all go about their “normal” lives trying to apply what they’ve learned for the rest of the week.
- There’s a lot more, but you get the idea.
I think this, not the violence, is why people watch. I think we all long to be part of a community like this. Where we matter. Where our contribution adds value. Where we are living life with people who are committed to the same purpose because that purpose is worth giving our lives to.
Being part of a community in a dystopian-zombie-filled society would not be something most of us would desire. But being part of a community like the one that exists in that world…where the characteristics that I listed above are “how life works,” I think that desire is deep in the heart of each of us.
We were created to be part of something that matters…a purpose big enough that we willingly step out of the comfortable lives we’ve built for ourselves. Where grace, and forgiveness, and sacrifice and love are there in abundance because you can’t survive without them.
That’s what I’m dreaming about.