Thursday, February 5, 2009

Faith, Hope, and Love

I wanted to write today about raiding 10-man Naxx last night. I wanted to write about downing my first boss in there (Noth) and how the "dance" on the second part (Heigan) was ridiculously fun for how much we died, never finishing, but having a blast because of awesome people. I wanted to write about levelling my DK, Friday night retro raiding, and enchanting my gear. I wanted to write about escapism.

The truth is, I can't focus on my fantasy world today, for once. I mean, every day since I can remember (and probably many before that), I've roused myself out of bed (I hate mornings) and put on a happy face (with a lot of grunting as Fuu can attest to). I approach life with the idea that each experience holds a lesson to be learned. If you find yourself in a cyclical downward spiral, you're not learning your lesson. It doesn't make you dumb, just... some lessons can be harder than others.

I've been in downward spirals, I've been through some shit. Losing your father at 18 doesn't help these things. Being the oldest of four doesn't help these things. Being a role model doesn't help these things. Feeling responsible doesn't help these things.

I've learned that you get through it by focusing on your blessings and learning your lessons. By keeping your head down and running against the wind. I've learned that I have a wonderful mother who is the epitome of a strong female heroine, fit for any inspirational movie about the human spirit. Her unshakable faith and unflappable courage continue to inspire me on a daily basis. Dating at 50? Yeah, not as easy as one would think.

I have a wonderful, close family and a loving, beautiful soon-to-be wife. I have a *job*, though I'm not sure how long its going to last. I have a degree, which is something to be thankful for. I have friends. I have a roof over my head. I am blessed.

I've learned things along the way. I had an extremely rocky relationship for five years in high school and early college: I learned not to take my significant other for granted. I've puked enough that I learned not to binge drink. I've coughed enough that I learned smoking isn't for me. I've been there for friends and had friends be there for me. I've learned that it isn't the material things in life that you take with you to your grave.

I'm only 24, but I think people who know me would say I've been "around the block". Sometimes that happens I guess.

Right now, on a global scale, things are pretty rough. People are losing jobs, losing homes, losing lives. Like everyone else, I'm worried sick. I'm scared. How does one plan things in the midst of all this chaos? What are the lessons we need to learn from this? Where are our blessings?

I have to say, I'm not sure all the time. I can find the answers about warlock gear, boss strategies, and super DK specs. Those answers are out there. But what I can't find is the answers for life's "mini"-bosses.

I read something the other day about the benefits/downsides of online gaming. The topic has been overworked, overthought, overblogged, so I won't bore you with another list of things. We all know the benefits. It's why we're here. I just wanted to relate a few personal touches, from someone who knows. From someone who's "been through some shit".

Just about every night, I log onto a game and escape for a bit. I talk with people who's face I've never seen, and I'm comforted by their words. I share stories, share victories, share lives. I've met some of the most courageous people I know online. Take, for instance, my guild leader. She is the mother of a child with cancer. Daily she amazes me with her profound optimism and inner strength. How does she do it? Or look at the raid leader I know who is a single father and has been through some personal upheaval of his own, yet he remains one of the most positive and loving people I know. Or for the RL touch, I have a good friend who I almost never get to see any more because he is over serving his country in Iraq. I only get to chat with him when he gets online. There is a good story where he was grouping with a guildmate and left suddenly, not returning for a couple days. Turned out, in the middle of playing WoW, the place he was staying had been bombed and he had ripped his power cord out of the wall in his haste to seek cover. He wasn't shaken by the fact that he was bombed, but more apologetic that he had left without saying "good bye".

These people inspire me. These people give me hope.

There is a good bible passage (even if you don't believe in such things) that says: "Left are these three: Faith, Hope, and Love. The greatest of which is Love." Now, my priest said that the thing people need most right now, in a climate like this, is hope. How strange that I get that from a "silly game".

Why am I writing all this? Well, every morning, I still get up, still hate mornings, and still put on my "happy face". Lately though, going into work is like dipping yourself in a vat of negativism. In fact, so is watching the news or reading the papers. It seems like there is no hope. It seems like people have no faith. It seems like we've lost sight of love. But, every night, I enter a fantasy world where all these things are very real. I enter a world filled with hope, with love and laughter, with faith in the unknown, with magical stories, many of which have nothing to do with cartoon characters on the screen.

So thank you, all of you. Thank you for reading me and inspiring me with your comments, thoughts, and caring. Thank you for your stories. But most of all, thank you for sharing the fantasy with me. I hope each of you find your faith, find your hope, and find your love. I hope each of you are able to learn your lessons. I hope you won't let the world get to you, even though it tries so hard to beat us down every day. Remember: "This, too, shall pass."

"It's just a game," they say.

Every morning, I get up to a world that is just a little bit less bleak because of a game. For that, I am blessed, and if that is the only thing I ever get from the game, I'll consider it time well wasted.

11 comments:

  1. <3 for Ful and Fuu

    we shall survive this and shall be stronger for it.

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  2. A beautiful and touching post. Thank you.

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  3. HERE HERE!

    Thank you Kinzlayer :D

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  4. Thanks all. It has been a rough couple weeks, but writing really can be cathartic... :-)

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  5. Quite possibly the blog post of the year, IMO. WoW is a great escape for people who have to deal with "some shit" and a lot of people don't understand that. For example.. My dad has been dying of cancer for years and every day I wake up dreading receiving the call from my mother about him passing away. To make matters worse, I live 16 hours away so it's not like I can see my parents very often. I work in sales on commission pay so if I don't sell, I don't make money. Life has tons of stress to deal out in bulk to every person, we all just deal with it differently.

    WoW is my escape from RL and I'm glad to say that I can share it with my wife and our friends. Everyone who plays WoW has a story and a reason they play. Not just because it's fun and immersive.

    I've talked to countless people who are injured, wheelchair bound, sick, etc., and WoW is therapeutic (sp?) for them. My wife and I were close to a Druid friend in our old guild and his wife died. He signed online to talk to us about it because he didn't have anyone IRL to confide in. I was sad for him but happy that he confided in us enough to come online and bleed his heart out to us for a few minutes and we did what no one was there for him to do IRL.. listen.

    Another member of our previous guild died. The guild was clearing SSC at the time but set aside time to set off fireworks in his honor and took some screen caps for their forums. People who never met him IRL, but only knew him in-game flooded his signature book on his funeral information page. He had about 30 signatures and 20 of them were from Warcraft players.

    WoW may be fantasy but it can be as real as real life. Sorry for the long wided response, I just felt the post was great and I wanted to throw in my story as well =).

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  6. Great post. Interestingly enough, I have been formulating (mostly in my head) a post about loving to "waste" my time. Your post is certainly more touching than I think mine will be. :)

    But yeah, we need faith, hope, love. And at work, I'm supposed to offer my clients hope.... and it's getting increasingly harder to... but I'll save that for part of my piece.

    "So thank you, all of you."

    Oh and you are welcome and thank you.

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  7. @Fear.win - thanks for sharing. I know what you're going through and am here if you ever want to talk... or kill boars :-)... you know manly style.

    @syrana - I look forward to your post, if you're able to give just one person hope, you've done your job. Remember, to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. :-)

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  8. Oh I loved this. I can't come up with any story right away. I think my whole blog is actually sort of in this genre. I'm pretty emo and I'm not even ashamed of it. :)
    I want my blog to be a place where you can rant away about your joy and your hope and your fear and your sorrow. Anything.
    WoW to me isn't really rational. It's much about feelings.
    Good luck with your project!
    I hope I'll come up with something specific eventually and if I do I'll link to you.

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  9. @ Larisa... Yes I rather did enjoy your "Happy Building My Sandcastle" post and it was one of the inspirations behind my own... In fact, I think I'll add that link to my follow up post on the subject because it is a good one :-)

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  10. <3
    /sniff

    It's like you're my mirror or something.

    I've always admired people like that too, I've always wanted to BE people like that.

    My husband is Native American, and they have a saying "The spirits send us trials so that we may be strong" I think there's bible verses that say similar things as well.

    Along with 'be careful what you ask for'. I wanted to be that rock for others amid the tossing sea, little did I know that I would first need to have all the extraneous 'fluff' scoured from my surface. I would need to be pitted and scarred to give those who would cling to me something to hold onto. I would have to have weathered the storms to give me the strength to know I could do it.

    There's been times when I didn't know where my next meal was coming from, I've lived for 4 years without a bed, one of those years without even a matress. I've gone to the park to pick dandelions because we couldn't afford anything other than ramen. I've come within days of loosing my house, my job, everything I've ever fought for.

    I've been to the edge, looking over, I've seen the path I could've fallen and because of that, I know if I ever do completely fall, I'll survive.

    Strength comes from surviving that storm, from knowing that if you don't fight, death is the only answer and either having the strength to plow through, or being too much of a coward to take the 'easy way', and plowing through, or caring too much about those around you, and plowing through... eh, whatever the reason, you just push through and when the dust settles, you're left with the knowledge that you could do it again if you had to, that everything really WILL be ok.

    (BTW, I finally added you to my blogroll so I can catch posts like this when they actually happen)

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