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How Buffy the Vampire Slayer led me to Jesus

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

How did a world full of wickedness lead me to the greatest joy one can experience? How could a show full of evil and destruction, pain and terror, fright and loss, ignite the fire of goodness inside me? How did I find the light in the dark?

Like many kids born in the 90’s, primetime television was a bedtime ritual in my home. Fortunately, my mom watched all the classic WB shows, like Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, 7th Heaven, and Roswell, so I was intrigued by teen dramas and the supernatural at a fairly young age. However, it was not until the network had a screening of Kevin Williamson’s, “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, that my interest in the horror genre peeked. I watched diligently as four friends buried their past, only to be reunited a year later in a fight for their lives. The magnitude of emotions I was consumed with had me completely invested in these characters and their story. One character in particular, Helen Shivers was played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, a superficial beauty queen whose life turned upside down after one summer night. I was mesmerized by the intensity of each scene, knowing that I had just stumbled upon a new era of my youth.

During this time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a time slot on the same network. Fascinated by this new genre, and being somewhat familiar with Sarah Michelle Gellar, I was enticed to watch. The idea of a teenage girl, living a double life— an adolescent navigating the horrors of high school by day, and a slayer battling evil by night— had me captivated. Not only was she facing real demons and vampires in the shadows, she was dealing with the struggles of being a high school student which could be just as frightening itself. The difficulties she underwent at school seemed to be just as defeating, or if not more, than the supernatural terrors she dealt with. Her ability to balance the two was nothing short of exhausting, but she did so with such strength, always overcoming evil with good.

Coming of age can debilitate the best of us, so finding a show that relates to our own challenges can be encouraging. Not only serving as a distraction but also helping us to not feel alone. I remember binge watching every season when I wanted to hermit from the world, in tears episode after episode, escaping from the reality I was drowning in. Buffy dealt with trauma on a regular basis, as she selflessly protected those around her. Only a few knew what she was sacrificing at such a young age. Being encompassed by death and destruction clearly magnified the loneliness, pain and sadness she felt.

Whenever she battled against demons, vampires, and other supernatural forces, it was clear who the bad guys, or gals, were. But as she dived deeper into the realm of supernatural, it became more complicated as the lines started to blur. In particular, she fell in love with the enemy. A vampire cursed with a soul. Only to lose him in a moment of true happiness as his soul was torn from him. But it did not stop there, as he mentally tortured her, amplifying her devastation. Relationships can mirror those emotions. Moments of bliss, only to have someone completely change right before your eyes, someone you swore you knew, but now totally unrecognizable. But still antagonizing your open wounds. It’ll rip your heart out. And again, when she trusted friends who betrayed her. A friend who she once related with and fought beside, then walked towards the path of darkness and betrayed her. The journey of life brings us allies and enemies, but figuring it out which is which is a crusade on its own. Sometimes the masks are so convincing we fool ourselves. We think we know someone, only to find out we have been deceived. Sometimes the line is so crooked we get lost in our own illusions.

Yet, sometimes people surprise us. Like Buffy and her Scooby Squad, we meet people who become our allies, those willing to face the battle by our side. It takes us being vulnerable enough to take down that steel wall, and let them in. Take a chance, and allow goodness to flood into our lives. Maybe it’s romantically, maybe it’s in friendships, or even in trusting in a higher power.

For many years, my affinity for the supernatural seemed to create a barrier between me and everlasting life. As I reached my own adolescence, I was encaged by the bitterness of my own painful experiences. I felt stagnant in the world, fearful, depressed, insecure, completely lost, holding on to rage and resentment. I was yearning for an escape from the dissatisfaction my own circumstances. Curiously, the realm of the otherworldly had me question whether God existed. I doubted him. I was challenged by the multitude of ideas that deluged the television and movies I was seduced with. But I was mistaken.

It looks me years of disappointment and chaos, to finally take another path. I needed something to change. And when I least expected it, someone told me a story in the Bible that got my attention. It’s then I realized I didn’t know much about it at all, a book of history, full of stories I had never been told. So I started reading it myself. As I continued reading, the depth of the content and information provided was something that had me questioning why I had not read it prior. I was hooked on what could be beyond this world, beyond our limited understanding. So much more to this book then what I was taught. A couple years later, my interest went even further after taking a mythology class at a community college. My professor taught the New Testament, so we were required to sit and study scripture. And reading scripture about Jesus, well, something inside me truly changed. A fire was lit, and I dived in even deeper. He felt like someone I knew. I wanted to be like him. So much goodness, so much wisdom, with so much more to uncover. I needed to know more, I craved more. All of a sudden I saw my life in flashbacks, the mistakes I've made, the lack of control I had, and I wanted to change. I wanted to stop sinking and swim. I could see much clearer, and life became so much brighter.

Reflecting back on my life, I realized I was seeking him through it all. Watching Buffy as a girl, I now see how I was looking for the light all along. Like Jesus, Buffy was called the savior. She sacrificed her life to save the world more than once, even for those who were against her. She protected those who were not always kind to her. She was someone I could relate to, someone I wanted to be like. Her suffering never diminished the power she had to triumph over evil. She confronted and defeated demons, like Jesus defeats Satan and his fallen angels, and overcomes temptation. Despite his circumstances, and those who doubted him, he conquers all evil and rescues humanity. He met allies, like his disciples, and enemies along the way. He was ridiculed by his peers, challenged by the serpent, and sacrificed himself, suffering until his death to deliver everyone from evil so they can have eternal life. He never gave himself to the darkness.

God is supernatural. The Bible is supernatural. Jesus is supernatural. He lives inside my heart, and in the hearts of those who have found him, or he has found. I know who Jesus is. Through him, I have learned, there is hope in the chaos and light in the darkness. Just hold on, get to know him if you have not already, and be courageous on the journey. Because he’s coming.

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26 de mar. de 2023
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This is beautiful Anna! Your clarity of who Jesus is and what he wants is very inspiring!

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