I am broken. There is no doubt about it. Something has snapped. Years of endurance, perseverance, over-doing-it-ance. Loss. Letting go. Political manipulation. Isolation. Sacrifice. Pandemic. Hormones. Instability. Exhaustion.
Really, just another day on my new favorite TV show, "The Walking Dead."
If you haven't watched the show, here's a quick summary. Humanity is hit with a furious plague that turns the dead into zombies (you know what they do, right?). Through extraordinary resilience, luck, and bad-assery, the main characters slice and dice zombies until they find a place where they can pause and catch their breath. Only to find themselves, once again, under attack. They fight. Some battles they win, many they lose. Nobody is safe from having their heads chomped, stabbed, stomped, shot, or chopped. At some point, as a spectator, you think that surely these humans will find peace. They've fought for and earned it. They deserve and need rest. Good Lord. Please.
Nope. The assault keeps coming. No way of avoiding it or even, at times, knowing friend from foe. Or ultimately who will survive. Life can be cruel. Zombies don't discriminate.
Why do I subject myself to this fantastic onslaught of violence and relentless anxiety? What keeps me coming back are the profoundly relatable and redemptive underlying themes and messages. While the main characters face truly absurd obstacles, brutality, and adversity, what saves and redeems them are the relationships they forge and fight to protect. Compassion, forgiveness, love, and respect are ultimately the way they stay whole. Community. Each character struggles to maintain their own humanity while helping their loved ones avoid plummeting into the gaping maw of despair and darkness. Rise above, together, or sink into the abyss.
Like each character in "The Walking Dead," adversity brings us face to face with our own demons, often more daunting and dangerous than any external threat. So, today, I am putting the pieces back together. Accepting that I'll never be the favorite blue-glazed, handcrafted artisan vase I was before I teetered from the table, crashing and shattering into brittle shards on the floor. But love is the glue. I've got that. And I will hold. There may be cracks and gaps where things spill out, but I will fill myself with cool water, yellow freesia, pink roses, and all the love I can muster. Until I am not just surviving. But thriving.
This is what we must do. In the moments we are given. With whatever we've got.
Because the zombies keep coming. Good lord. They do. (growl, shuffle, snarl, chomp).