Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Zombies and Superheroes

Retrieved from "http://marvel.com/universe/Marvel_Zombies_(Earth-2149)"

The Walking Dead are Among Us

Perhaps you don't believe it is true?  Consider that no less an authority on life and death than the first person to ever resurrect, Jesus of Nazareth confirmed that the dead walk among us.

In The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 9 verses 57 through 62 there is the account of two would-be followers of Jesus.  Skipping over the story of the first one, to the second he said, "Follow me."  This would-be disciple replied that he was willing, but first he wanted to go and bury his father.  Jesus replied, "Let the dead bury their dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God."

From more modern authorities comes this interpretation of the interchange.  On BillyGraham.org I found this:
"He was speaking of ...those who were alive physically but dead toward God in their souls."
https://billygraham.org/answer/what-did-jesus-mean-when-he-said-to-let-the-dead-bury-the-dead/

Super Heroes are Among Us

Former Atheist CS Lewis noted that
"...the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship."
For some time I have puzzled over the popular mania about zombies.  Likewise, I puzzled over our obsession with super heroes, mutants, and stories of those with supernatural or magical powers.  I believe both fascinations stem from the same root.  Each of us knows that within us lie the seeds of life or death.  If our life is more like a walking death, than the robust super-charged life of a super hero, we feel the loss and yearn for more.  Or, some resign themselves to the life of the undead / unliving, believing that quasi-death is the inevitable fate of everyone and that true life is but a brief state that soon will pass to be replaced with unrelenting gloom.

Harry Potter is a very ordinary seeming boy suddenly learns that he is anything but ordinary.  His story resonated with children and adults around the world to the tune of more than 400 million copies.

All of us want to believe that there is magic, or a super hero within us, just waiting to emerge and transform our lives from humdrum to an extraordinary adventure.

Many of us go through our lives feeling like we are the walking dead.  While there are those among us whose lives are filled with life, vitality, abundance and joy.  These success stories seem to us like some sort of super hero story.

We buy all sorts of elixirs and snake oil remedies from people who present themselves as economic or spiritual super heroes.  Each bottle, book, course, boot camp, or certification is presented as an essential step to transform ourselves from zombies into super heroes.

Jesus of Nazareth was threatened with death by stoning when he told the people of his home town, "Ye are gods." (John 10:33).  The fact that he was quoting from the Old Testament (Psalms 82:6) didn't make the pill any easier for his hearers to swallow.

Are these sellers of success the keepers of the true path to change each of us from zombies into super heroes?  Unfortunately for those of us who have bought their wares, no.

Zombies and super heroes are all around us.  A few live lives of abundance while the majority shamble through theirs lives decaying a bit with every step they take.  What is the difference between the super heroes and the zombies.  What is it that can transform your world from death into life?

Joy.

Joy is not about everything always being happy and fun.  Joy is about being grateful for both the pleasant and the unpleasant in your life.  Joy is about embracing life as it is, where it is, instead of always pining for whatever is not there right now.

You can live in a state of constant joy.  You can mourn for the death of a loved one while being grateful for the happiness that person brought into your life while they were here.  You can regret the loss of riches while remembering how good you felt when you used your riches to make lasting memories with others in you life.  You can dislike the taste of the poor food you eat while being grateful that you have tasted so much better.  On the flip side, you can take pleasure from the happiness you are experiencing this moment while being grateful that the pains which came before have heightened your appreciation for this moment of triumph.

Joy transforms our life from walking death into abundance.

How Do I Become Full of Joy (joyful)?

The simple answer is not the easy answer.  The simple answer is that you decide that you will be joyful.

This decision is simple, but not easy.  Once decided, thereafter it takes a lifetime of thoughts and actions to maintain.  Every time something unpleasant comes into your life, you must be sincerely grateful for it and appreciate how the unpleasantness makes the pleasant experiences in your life that much richer.  Every time something pleasant comes into your life, do not take it for granted. Rather, remind yourself of how your unpleasant experiences are making this moment of delight, richer and more wonderful.

When I was a young man, for nearly two years I lived in a third-world country.  While there, living among the people, I saw real poverty.  While there, I saw despotism and corruption both in the government and among the people.  I saw a government that the people had reason to fear and knew that Constitutional Rights was, there, a meaningless phrase.  Right along with things like the rights described in the Miranda Act to protect people from abuses by the police.

When I returned to the United States of America, I came back with a full appreciation for the astounding wealth enjoyed by even our poorest in this country.  I came back will a deep appreciation for the wisdom of the framers of our Constitution as well as gratitude for those who have stood in defense of our country, our freedoms and our ideals.  Because of my experience there, I look askance at those who claim that our political process disenfranchises them, and I realize that what they are really saying is that our system doesn't allow them to do whatever they feel like doing with impunity.

Living a joyful life doesn't happen by drinking some elixir, rubbing in some ointment, attaining some degree or certification, attending some course, or reading some book.  A joyful life is the result of an attitude of gratitude which absorbs and is grateful for both the happy and unhappy things in life.

For me, this gratitude is founded upon my knowledge of the divinity and love of Jesus Christ and God the Father.

Having the certainty that the Creator of the universe is also the literal father of my soul allows me to be grateful for the fabulous beauty of the world I see around me every day. Knowing that He created it, in all it beauty and variety, to gladden my heart, makes me pause to truly observe and absorb the beauty that surrounds us.

Knowing that one day, I will die, but that is not the end.  At his word, my spirit will rejoin my body and He will glorify and perfect me by his power and grace and grant me such opportunities that the mind of man cannot imagine or comprehend.  All the sorrows of this life will, at that day, seem but a small moment.  I am grateful He lets me experience the bitter so that I can savor the sweet.

Isaiah 55:1,2
"... every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.2Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.3Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you,..."
The walking dead around us are dead to the joy of life.  The super heroes among us are those who live joyful, abundant lives, filled with vibrancy and gratitude for both the pleasant and the unpleasant.

Note:  An article in the Wall Street Journal today says that "adolescents with a strong personal spirituality are found to be 60% less likely to be severely depressed as teenagers,"

Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM). 

The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein. 

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