Wandering Flame

Life is hectic.

Life is complicated.

Things happen. Work happens. Family happens. Life happens and we tend to not have too much control over it in the end. And this year we felt it more than ever.
The first uncontrollable pandemic in our lifetime and the second recession in 12 years. We all lost friends, family members, acquaintances and felt the economic pressure or even existential dread this year. Climate change looming over our society, while we remain in solitude to protect other people, paints a bleak reality for many of us.
Taking step after step into an uncertain future requires strength, but for many the past months, years, maybe even decades, have dimmed that flame of strength inside each of us.

Many things can chip away from this flame as we carry it with us through our every day lives. Every flame has a different brightness, a different size a different colour. Some people’s flame has already gotten small and is well guarded as to not extinguish. Some people’s flame burns bright like the sun, warming the people around it and strengthening their flames. Our company, like every community, is made up of many different people, with different views, priorities, strengths and weaknesses, but we all share the fact that we carry a flame.

F.l.t.r. (includes zigzagging): Rabbit Duck, Buff Duck, Power Duck, Leader Duck, Shadow Cross, Slutty Duck, Maid Duck, Improvised Duck, Duck Knight, Little duckling

The majority of every community are people who love to participate, but not actively shape what is happening. Those who join a Casual Wednesday, join the voice channel and just silently enjoy other people goofing around, while doing their part. These members usually remain quiet and only speak up when being asked a question. It is important for the other kind of community member to understand that these people are a vital part of the community and that their silence does not equal apathy. People who do not have the strength or the personality to be socially active. People who are tired or distraught.
People who’s flame has gotten small and dim.

On the other end there is the host, the organizer, the entertainer. It’s the person putting out the idea of meeting up and doing something together. The person who uses his strength to light a campfire for everyone.
At this point I want to intervene and say: No, not all entertainers are extroverted. And not all audience members are introverts. I have met many people that love to bring joy to other people, to organize meetups, boardgame-evenings, movie nights, or eating out, only to spend the next 2 days alone, regenerating from the event. In the same vein I have met many extroverted organizers that have not kindled a fire for others to warm themselves, but to place their flame behind a display only to be admired by others.
Coming back to the nature of the host: Organizing is stressful. It starts with finding a date and it ends with managing the social balance between everyone attending. Giving away so much lifetime and passion to other people is what I consider to be the greatest gift of all.

This year was so harsh and awful for so many people in this company that I felt the need to help out and entertain, spread laughter and distract people from whatever negative thing that was going on outside. To burn brighter and share warmth with everyone. But I overestimated myself and underestimated everyone else.
I stepped down from my organizer role in this FC this year, because I experienced too much stress and negativity in my life and the perceived duty to host and entertain – to share my flame with others – dimmed the light in me to a flicker. And for 24 hours after I resigned I was skeptical, if others would step up and share their flames, because if this year has shown me one thing that is that many people do not care for others (*cough* masks).

Some company members enjoying the sun in Costa del Sol.

But oh was I surprised when so many lights started brightening my perceived darkness. Jasar and Sonja immediately started organizing more and more events, bringing a sense of community to everyone in the company. Ryve lit up and started actively helping and encouraging people to play and to succeed in whatever way they desired. Jace blossomed into a role of listening to people, taking an interest into everyone’s passions while sharing hers and thinking about the well-being of others to an heart-warming extent.

I could write more about others (Laila and Shadow for example, but you guys know you’re doing ok ;)), but your (the reader’s) time is precious and as such I will leave it at this point.
Seeing everyone burn brighter and share their flame, their warmth with everyone else and also with me, gave me a lot of strength back to tackle the last months of this year, and I am sure many others feel the same way.
I feel this company is an antithesis to the society that happens outside our front doors: A community of warmth, friendship and care for one another, that I wish to continue into next year and maybe many more.
When I look upon the frequent buzzing of our discord or our in game chat I see a mental image of a church filled with many lit candles linked to the selfless wishes of joy for one another.
And that image brings me to the next story.