I’ve been trying since Tuesday to write this. For me and my family, this Thanksgiving will not be a happy event. Instead, any thankfulness or feelings of holiday cheer (after all, here in America the dreaded “holiday season” begins today) will be overshadowed by sadness, grief, and anger. I am not looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner. And as I dread sitting around a table and forcing myself to eat the traditional turkey meal, I can’t help but think that ours is not the only family whose Thanksgiving will be a rather subdued affair. All across the country, there are no doubt thousands of families who are viewing today’s festivities in much the same way.
In the two days I’ve been trying to write this, I’ve realized that there are two main things I want to share with all of you:
Firstly, it would be easy to dwell on this sadness, both my own and the sadness I feel for the world and her people. But what good would this post be to you then? What wish would I be giving all of you on this day that we are to give thanks for what happiness we do have? More and more I find that the only way to find this happiness–the happiness we must seek in the face of hardship and grief–can only come from loving and supporting one another. We do not have to like one another to love one another. Love is not a weakness. It is an act of courage. It’s so easy to hate and to be certain of your hate. It’s so easy to look down upon those whose opinions and values differ from your own. I know. I’ve been there. To an extent I still am there. It’s a battle with myself I fight each and every day. So this holiday season, and this day in particular when it can feel like there is very little to be thankful of, I challenge each of you reading this post to love.
Anger and hatred are our real enemies. They are the forces we most need to confront and defeat, not the temporary “enemies” who appear intermittently throughout our life. And unless we train our minds to reduce their negative force, they will continue to disturb us and disrupt our attempts to develop a calm mind.”
I am not Buddhist, nor am I trying to push any sort of ideology onto anyone. But the above quote by the Dalai Lama seems appropriate at this time. Anger and hatred cause ourselves so much pain. It is an endless cycle. Recently a Sikh man’s selfie was photo-shopped to look as though he was one of the Paris terrorists. A certain group of people who play games dislike this man strongly, just for having views that differ from theirs. Their anger and hatred for a man they don’t even know is appalling to say the least, and yet so completely expected at this point. And this breaks my heart.
We are all people who love games. And we all wish to see games be the stunning medium for art and entertainment that we know they have the capability to be. Remember that we all are human, and we all wish for the same things. Our feelings towards games are no different. We may individually seek different experiences from games, but that doesn’t make us alone. There are always other people also hoping to play games that make them happy. To play games that make them sad. To play games just for a fun way to wind down. To play games that speak to them on a level no other medium is quite able to capture. We need to stop viewing these discussions as “us against them”. We all want the same things, we really do, we just want them in different ways. And I have no doubt that there is room in the industry to accommodate all of these playstyles.
Life is short and fleeting. It’s cliche to say so, but my god is it true. Please don’t spend your limited time on this earth being consumed by fear and hatred of those who wish to live as happily and peacefully as they can. And if you are fighting against those who merely want to see themselves respected as the heroes they deserve to be in a medium that proclaims we are all heroes yet consistently paints their heroes the exact same way, ask yourself why.
Secondly, and as the title of this post would suggest, I am realizing that the gratitude I feel towards games this year has little to do with the games themselves, and everything to do with you. All of you. I am so grateful and thankful to those who have donated their time and energy to this cause by joining our small family. Radical Helmet, Jay, and Mhorgain–you all do amazing work and I am forever in awe of what you continue to turn out. You are wonderful people, and I am so happy to have you as part of the +10 team. Syn–no one ever sees you, but I would not still be going without your support. ♥
To the friends I’ve made because of our little community–you never fail to brighten my day and I appreciate you so very much (particularly when you’re giving me a little kick in the ass when I need it. Seriously. Thank you.)
I am also thankful to games for their ability to enrich the relationships I already have. I’m not sure Syn and I would have survived my time at a University in our first year together if we hadn’t had a game like World of Warcraft to hang out with.
Without games I never would have met any of you, and that is a dismal thought. The true strength of games lies in their ability to connect us to one another, both globally with online gaming, and between friends and family at home. We have a truly beautiful thing going on, and I am so grateful to games for making that possible.
May all your jars be full of rupees,