Hoping in Hyrule
Originally published at Love Thy Nerd
Pain is awkward. It doesn’t stay put, and it, when there’s enough, spills over and makes a mess. Last year, many of my most important relationships were rocked by pain and suffering. Marriages ended. Faith was questioned or abandoned. Others grasped for answers in the face of abuse and disappointment. All around me, smoke suddenly gave way to fire. I love these people and hate their pain, but soon I was overwhelmed by too many disappointments and too little change. All this suffering became my own, and I was convinced I could love people out of their hurt with good advice and encouragement. But soon I was praying it—the problems, the people—would all just go away.
I didn’t want to hear one more sad story.
Faced with all this suffering I couldn’t soothe, I started playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wildto put some distance between myself and the discomfort of suffering. Breath of the Wild offered a different comfort than a Netflix binge or the repetitive comfort of a game like Stardew Valleybecause the series shares DNA with fairy tales and Faerie in general. Fairy stories transport visitors to a land both surpassingly strange and strangely familiar to tell old stories in new ways. To play a new Legend of Zelda is to replay every other Zelda game, even one as fresh as Breath of the Wild. Likewise, every adventure in faerieland is similar to the last; old problems collide with new conflicts.
I wouldn’t have said it when I first sat down to play, but my despair had drained the color out of this new quest. Normally I would’ve anticipated adventure, but now I just wanted to play the problems away.