And now, for a little self-revelation...(not that writing a blog isn't pretty revealing) For some time now, I have luxuriated in cultivating an irrational fear of ZOMBIES! As silly as it seems, I have become fearful of these fictional creations and have even done zombie checks or considered zombie escape routes, you know, the usual stuff. As I have fed these fears by watching such shows as The Walking Dead and The Jersey Shore (not really... Bazinga!), I have slowly created imaginary scenarios in which, I usually don't come out triumphant. Either way, I recognize that the fear of Zombies is both irrational and a luxury of which I can pretend to partake. This fear, however, is completely fictional, it is more of a hobby than an actual phobia or fear, it is something that takes up my time as I go from one meeting to another or from one event to the next. Recently though, I have come face to face with the Zombie Apocalypse and it's nothing like I thought it would be. To begin, this particular zombie was not trying to eat my brains, nor was he after a bite of flesh, instead, the zombie that sat in my office was someone that I had known for many years. A person that I have grown to admire and respect, a person whose family seemed perfect and in tact, and yet, here he was, right in front of me, my old friend, and yet, a zombie. In between bouts of lucidity, my friend pleaded with me to help him escape the horror which he was living, and yet, in the next breath, the zombie manifested itself desperate not for flesh, or brains, but for the next hit. Right before my eyes, I saw the horrible effects of this monster that possess my friend, pushing him down and revealing itself for what it is, a soul-less, self centered zombie that pursued its next hit with the ferocity of a fictional zombie running after a real life remnant of the human race. As I sat there, slowly realizing what I was witnessing, I didn't know what to do. The Zombie Apocalypse was happening right in my office and I had no idea how to respond! Zombies aside, and fears aside, I quickly turned to Christ and the Holy Spirit to guide me in this time. With the calmness of someone moving away from a zombie, I started to breathe slowly and in a measured fashion, and although he was right across from my desk, it wasn't my brain but my heart that went out to him. Here, in front of me, was a modern day leper, a child of God who had gone astray. Just a few weeks ago I proclaimed and preached about my good friend Bartimeus, and now, here he was, not in the midst of a crowd, but in the midst of the zombie, the drug, the addiction. Here he sat, right in front of me calling out "HAVE PITY ON ME!"
As much as would like to say that I sprang into action like a Christ-like zombie fighting warrior, I have to admit that for the first time, I didn't know what to do, or how to pretend that I knew what to do. At this moment, my friend was in true need of help and this zombie could see right through anything I could through its way. This morning, as I sit and write this post, I am humbled at the call to help this young man, and while I cannot know where he will end up, I pray that in the little that I have been able to offer, he will find the peace he needs. He has agreed to enter a rehab program, but what then? I have offered to continue walking with him throughout this ordeal, and in Christ, I hope that the damage that has been created, both in him and in his family, will find the healing that is necessary. Unfortunately, like in the movies, this zombie has damaged everything around it, and reconstruction will be difficult, but in the end, I guess that in Christ, even the darkness of the zombie apocalypse or of the tomb, can be overcome. And also in Christ, I and in truth, we are called upon to fight this apocolypse that is happening in so many of our homes. I don't have the solution, but I can't help but believe, because I have experienced it myself, that ultimately, it will take great love anc courage which can only come from Christ, to battle not only this apocolypse, but all those that are so easily taking over many of those we love. Pray for me as I do for you.
As always, know that you are loved. God bless you. Fr. Rick