Call of Duty 4 is the best game I have ever played and finished. It is an orgy of gunshots, a buffet of weapons, and a shoot-fest. The tidal rush of adrenaline as I sprayed terrorists with hot lead was incredible; the surge of excitement as I finished each stage was indescribable.
That is until I got to the stage where I had to follow a veteran called Capt. MacMillan to snipe at a nasty piece of work called Imran Zakhaev. It was pretty hard going on that level. The bad guys were milling all over the place like soldier ants after the smell of meaty stew; getting through them was a nightmare. With every little mistake I made, a pack of jugular loving ferocious canines were onto me in a flash. Even when I didn’t have the hot breath of these dangerous beasts on my neck, getting out of the radioactive zone was like finding a way out of the labyrinth of Crete. I had to start the stage over and over again until it wasn’t real fun anymore. In short, it became frustrating. Amazingly this was on easy mode.
William Ernest Henley said in his Invictus that he is the captain of his soul and that is where I erred. Instead of following the Captain, I gamboled off like an errant lamb and paid for it dearly over and over again because anytime I went off on my own my mission was compromised.
Mr. Henley was wrong and in the game of life this is where we also err. We have never gone through life, so at best we would be recruits as raw as sashimi and not decorated officers. But there is Someone who is timeless. He has been there, done that and knows the ropes of every inch of life. God incessantly pleads that we should follow but we are naturally resistant to the instructions He has laid down for us, we would do anything but. This is the reason why life may be an arduous task, a circuitous tour where one keeps going back to the starting point, a monotonous voyage of stagnancy.
Truth is with the Captain, I had to show a lot of restraint and that was not fun. The dude was too boring for me. The thrill of the game for me was to empty my clips into the guts of the enemy with furious abandon but this brother was cramping my swaggering style. On the other hand, doing things my way invited an early exit. In some of the places I lost constraint and rushed into battle, the Captain would rather side step and avoid the danger. It was less thrilling but I completed the mission.
In life sometimes we have to let go of the fun to complete our purpose. For example a young lady who wants to get married but keeps distributing her sexuality like a charity doughnut to all and sundry would have to zip up to attain her purpose of getting married. Exercise is more boring than gorging ourselves with all kinds of ambrosial dainties but it’s the way to a healthier lifestyle (purpose is more readily achieved with a body that is not riddled with diseases).
For me it was a continuous battle. The THRILL of the game was constantly pitted against its MISSION, the PURPOSE of my existence as an SAS soldier. My survival was intrinsically woven into being guided by the Captain and following his instructions to the letter. It made the mission simpler, less stressful and way faster. I went on the next stage in no time.
Thrill constantly squares against mission and purpose like gladiators in an ancient arena: the charged pleasure for the iniquitous opposed to eternity, the sensuous bangs of illicit sex leading to divorce against the framework of marriage, the rapacious love for money resists the long term benefits of integrity, the stimulating blasts of drugs stand in the way of a meaningful future, the explosive high of profligate spending matched against financial liberty, languid indolence faces off with intellectual progress. If the thrill always gets the upper hand, then we open ourselves up to shrapnel and feral beasts that tear up destiny like it were a parchment from the tomb of an Egyptian monarch. God help us all.
Any time we follow, we go onto a higher level of living. A group of fisherman was lost in the hum-drum of their fishing business until Jesus told them to follow him. They did and instead of fish, they were upgraded to fishing for men. From limited country bumpkins, they became limitless cosmopolitan city slickers.
Are you tired of your present level? Do you want to rise to the next level in 2012, you had better follow the instructions of the Captain of our souls like I as a new SAS recruit called “Soap” MacTavish followed Captain MacMillan.
WILL YOU FOLLOW???