So I see one commercial for the Walking Dead yesterday and I’m plagued by zombie apocalypse dreams all night long. We’re not talking about the slow, stupid zombies, either. These zombies all were all fast motherfuckers who looked like Mary Kate Olsen. Absolutely terrifying.
Except I’m pretty sure my dreams aren’t the result of one ill-timed commercial. It’s more likely that my subconscious was trying to tell me we’re once again approaching that magical time of year when we celebrate the most famous zombie of them all.
Today is Mardis Gras, which for most translates to the one time of year it’s socially acceptable to get completely hammered by noon and pee on alley walls in full view of God and everyone else on Bourbon Street. For others, especially devout Catholics, it’s a time to reflect on the coming 40 days, during which abstinence, self-denial, and prayer brings them closer to the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Well, I’m not Catholic any more. The only thing vaguely Catholic about me is my latent Catholic guilt and the box full of Catholic juju I like to break out when Jehovah’s Witnesses show up at my front door. (For the record, those poor people really do not like having a crucifix waved at them while you’re yelling, “A pox! A pox on your house!”) Yes, I’m a bad person.
I grew up Catholic. Most of my family is still Catholic, and they are the most honest, devoted people you will ever meet. Their faith is the cornerstone of their lives, and going to mass brings them peace. Spending time in prayer and reflection during the Lenten observation gives them great joy.
It was never that way for me.
Every year during Lent, I would give up chocolate or soda or something equally as meaningless. I’d even forgo eating meat on Fridays. And every year without fail, I would crack after a week. It wasn’t that I was actively sabotaging myself; it was that I just. Didn’t. Care. I always wondered if Jesus really cared if I ate M&Ms and a hamburger for lunch on Fridays or not. Since the Big Guy in the Sky never offered up obvious answers to these kind of questions (like burning bushes and that kind of shit), it seemed to me that He didn’t. I didn’t connect such a paltry form of self-sacrifice with the suffering J-to-the-C-Hizzle experienced during His 40 days in the wilderness. Or, you know, when He was hanging out on that rather large tree.
I stopped giving things up for Lent some time during high school, but every year at this time, I wonder if I should give it another try. Take one for the team, make myself a better person, yadda yadda yadda. And then I think, why not try to be less selfish and more observant all year long? Wouldn’t that be a better way to honor everyone’s favorite zombie?
It’s hard for me to even talk about the faith of my past, because I don’t to offend those who still practice it, especially my family. I don’t think I’ll ever identify myself as a Catholic again, because there are just too many very fundamental things the Catholicism espouses that I disagree with. But when people start to badmouth the Church by calling it the Whore of Babylon (I’m looking at you, Fred Phelps), I’m thrown into a nearly apopletic rage.
There are some lines you just don’t cross, even after you’ve left.
I never meant for this post to get so heavy. Seriously, I just wanted a reason to google Zombie Jesus. Finding the least offensive representation of Our Lord and Saviour as a member of the undead was a chore.