Lessons learned from Rick’s “Rock in the Road” story

Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in Episode 9Photo by Gene Page/AMC
Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in Episode 9Photo by Gene Page/AMC /

Rick’s allegory of the “Rock in the Road” strikes a chord in the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead. It has a powerful meaning, even in our own lives.

When Rick pleads his case to Ezekiel in The Walking Dead’s “Rock in the Road,” he tells the King a story of another kingdom in a faraway land. It’s a story Rick’s mother told him as a child, but it has a very valuable lesson that not only fits into the season 7 storyline, but it resonates in our own lives today. Like Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” there is a lot to be learned in this tale.

Rick tells the story of a kingdom that had a well traveled road. The road had a giant rock in the middle and people stumbled over the rock and horses broke their legs trying to maneuver around it. One day a little girl was badly injured when her family’s wagon hit the rock. They had been traveling to the market to sell their beer when their cart tipped and all of their beer poured into the ground. It was all the product they had to sell, and without that money they would have nothing. The girl didn’t understand why so many people tried to go around the rock instead of moving it. Why would a rock be in such a bad location? So the girl started digging with her bare hands, and eventually she was able to move the rock out of the way. Before she could cover up the hole, he found a bag of gold. (At this point in Rick’s story Jerry cheered) The King had put the rock in the road and he put the gold there to reward the person who took the time to move the rock. Anyone who would do such a thing deserved to be rewarded.

This tale strikes a chord with Ezekiel, who considers this tale before making a decision to join Rick’s fight against the Saviors.

The big lesson in the story is that most people try to move around problems without taking time to stop and fix them. Gregory is a prime example, because he’d rather live in a bubble of ignorance than face the truth. If Ezekiel chooses to do nothing, then he is guilty of ignoring the problem and trying to move around it.

The threat of Negan and the Saviors is too big to ignore. Even though Ezekiel has an arrangement with Negan, Richard knows that it could be reversed at any point in time. That’s not a good thing. They can’t live like that. The Saviors are much too dangerous to allow them to continue their reign of terror, and this is the chance to be part of the change.

Being part of the change is a powerful lesson for us, too. Rick’s story can be applied to our lives and the situations we find ourselves in. These days many people keep their heads down and try to keep moving, shunning problems as best they can. But if people take the time to be part of the change, amazing things can happen. This is yet another example of learning a lesson from The Walking Dead.

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The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.