The story of Link’s Awakening is fairly simple on the surface, but surprisingly deep when one pays attention to the finer details. The opening cutscene- which was stunning for the time- shows Link sailing on a raft, when the sea gets stormy and causes him to crash. We find out that he becomes stranded on Koholint Island, and now must find his way back to Hyrule. However, as our hero journeys through this mysterious new world, he learns more about it and the greater reason that he’s there.
Link’s destiny on Koholint is to awaken the dormant Wind Fish. In order to do so, he must battle through eight dungeons to collect magical instruments that, when played in unison, create a sound so mystical that it has the ability to make the fish arise.
The Wind Fish himself is one of the game’s most captivating aspects. While Link doesn’t meet him until the end of the game, he is constantly reminded of the fish’s presence through the island and its culture. The start screen shows the giant pink egg the Wind Fish sleeps in, the locals have a song dedicated to him, and the island is littered with statues that tell of his legends.
The game confronts us with the possibility that the beautiful paradise of Koholint Island is nothing but a dream. At its conclusion, the game asks us to awaken from that dream world knowing that Koholint Island and all of its people will vanish if we do.
And as we climb Mt. Tamaranch, the one place where the dream can be ended, we are torn by the same emotions that come with our comfort zones. Do we have the strength to let go of Koholint Island? It is an experience that reflects the very essence of the human condition with a power that only a video game can achieve.
Staying in our comfort zone dulls our senses. This can apply to our jobs as well. We need challenges. When we aren’t challenged we become relaxed and can miss many opportunities in life. If Link stayed on Koholint Island for the rest of his life he would miss out on legends to come.
God doesn’t want us comfortable, He wants us obedient. He might keep us in the same town for our entire life, but this doesn’t mean He wants us to stay in our comfort zone. He might want us to talk to people we would never have thought to talk to before. He might want us to start something for Him that we would never have chosen for ourselves!
God might ask us to do something we don’t feel comfortable doing. This fear however, shows a complete lack of trust in God. He is not out to make our lives miserable. He is wanting us to be obedient.
His call can make us uncomfortable, it might involve risks, it may even involve pain…but He has a plan we don’t always see.
Remember, His ways are higher than our ways. - Isaiah 55:9.
There are limits to our wisdom so trust in Him. - Job 38-39.
Is God calling you to do something that makes you uncomfortable? And here is a better question: would you rather be obedient or comfortable?
“You want to use your Complimentary ID? OK! Here it goes… You are sooooo GREAT. Absolutely fantastic! INCREDIBLE! And there you go! Isn’t it nice to be complimented once in a while? It is, isn’t it?”
–Beedle, The Wind Waker
For hundreds of years in many cultures, east or west, people were taught when they were still small to express appreciation and gratitude in words and gesture we now call compliments. Compliments are due when others have done something good or right, achieved something of value or virtue. When we receive compliments from people, it gives us a warm feeling and inner glow of satisfaction. In the North American culture we live in today, people tend to find fault on others and there is more finger pointing than hand clapping. Christians need to learn from Paul, the apostle, on how to appropriately give compliments to others when the time, place and purpose are right.
There are people who will go to either extreme: discrediting or flattering like Beedle. Instead of discrediting good deeds of others or making up something from nothing for sole reason of flattering, compliments should be given properly and genuinely.
In Philippians 4:8, Paul encouraged us to fill our hearts with “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if any thing is excellent or praise worthy.” When we are filled with these positive elements of life, we will commend others on their good deeds.
“The flow of time is always cruel… Its speed seems different for each person, but no one can change it… A thing that doesn’t change with time is a memory of younger days…” – Sheik, In front of the Forest Temple
Nothing is more powerful than the memories created by a child’s experiences. The child’s memories fashion the adult’s life. Every day of adult life is touched by the memories of childhood experiences. Our greatest adult fears were created by childhood memories. Our greatest adult anxieties were produced by childhood memories. Our most negative adult views of ourselves are the product of childhood memories.
Our most important adult goals have their roots in childhood memories. Our most powerful adult drives have their roots in childhood memories. Our adult attitudes, adult perspectives, adult expectations, and adult view of life are all powerfully influenced by our childhood experiences and memories.
So if everyone is shaped and molded differently by our different childhood experiences, then how can we know we are going down the right path in life? How can we know that there even is a right path in life?
“It is something that grows over time… a true friendship. A feeling in the heart that becomes stronger over time… The passion of friendship will soon blossom into a righteous power and through it, you will know which way to go…” –Sheik, In the Death Mountain Crater
How do we know which way to go? Through the friendship. The relationship. 1 Peter 1:22 describes the love God has for us as “unfeigned” love, mean love that is not pretended, but genuine. The believer’s relationship is born in the love and mercy of our gracious God. He knew that man would sin and rebel against Him, yet He loved His creation and made a plan whereby a rebellious and sinful man could come into a perfect relationship with our Holy and Pure God. The passion of friendship blossoms into a righteous power and through it you can know which way to go.
But what about the problem of pain? What if we can’t see God in the world today? With so much evil in the world how can we know God’s love?
“Time passes, people move. Like a river’s flow, it never ends. A childish mind will turn to noble ambition. Young love will become deep affection. The clear water’s surface reflects growth. Now listen to the Serenade of water to reflect upon yourself.” –Sheik, In the Ice Cavern
Sheik’s advice demonstrates a keen understanding of the fluidity and instability in life, in which a person can feel lost and alone. Everyone’s life will include some degree of change and instability just like the flow of a river. It’s what we choose to do in that instability that can define us. Even amid the fast flow of life, there is always the Rock to hold onto: Jesus Christ. It is through God’s gift to us that we can find safety and comfort. God’s love can be seen in the gift of life he offers us even in the fluidity of life which was brought about by our sin and our rebellion.
Naruto’s story is very dynamic. As he strives to accomplish his goal, he is ridiculed harshly by everyone in his village. They all hate him. They think he’s a failure and that he’ll never make in ninja school, let alone be the best in his village.
How many troubled children do you know? How many young men in your community struggle with carrying a demon inside them? How many teens do you know whose parents hate them and think of them as failures that will never make through school?
Servants of Christ must find the good things about someone or something that is shackled to evil in order to free that someone or something from its bondage. Just imagine how many more people, young people, would come to God if they knew Naruto’s story was something that God can use.
What’s called a demon in Naruto is what we Christians call the flesh: something evil that all of us are born with because of the mistakes that came before us. A world full of confused men fighting inner demons and striving for the world’s definition of success needs more people like Iruka-Sensei. People who act with love, not quick judgment, when dealing with things that are foreign to us. We have to be like when Jesus (perceived as a Jew) spoke to the Samaritan woman in John 4. He didn’t have to say a word to the woman. Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans. But Jesus talked with her anyway and she was blessed because of it.
Without Iruka-Sensei, what would Naruto have become? Think about it. We as leaders need to be that Iruka in the lives of young men and women. When you die it won’t matter what car you drove, what job you had, or how successful you were. What will matter is how you made an impact in the life of a child.
No matter how right the wind is, no matter how it screams its case or argues its rights, the mountain is the truth, and it cannot be swayed by false logic. The truth is the truth, and it cannot be moved.
Jesus Christ is the truth - yes it’s a bold statement. But this mountain is one that cannot be swayed by all the wind in the world.
The Philosophy of The World Ends with You: Part 3 of 3
New ways to be yourself
“Only by allowing strangers in, can we find new ways to be ourselves.” - Yoshiya “Joshua” Kiryu
This one is for the introverts like myself. As an introvert in a school full of annoying extroverts, I would tend to stay clear of most people – doing my school work, playing my videogame, reading my Bible. But my experience in university has taught me exactly what Yoshiya was able to teach Neku: that when you expand your world to include other people, you actually find new ways to be yourself. By listening to other philosophies and ideas of thought you can refine yours, or even further understand why you believe what you believe. Sometimes you need to read both sides of the newspaper to be able to properly defend the truth. Yes, there is one absolute truth, but no one person on this planet lives every second of their life according to that truth. So expand. In university I expanded my horizons and was able to better refine who I was by being challenged to explore the Bible further and answer why I believed what I believed.
“Everyone has their own little internal world - a secret garden only they can enter. Each world follows its own internal logic - individuality. And the logic of one world means nothing in another. Understanding other people isn’t hard…..It’s Impossible.” – Yoshiya “Joshua” Kiryu
For example, where one person might think in terms of logic and reason, another might think in terms of emotion and attachment to certain things. Some people find meaning in music while others, literature. Everyone has a unique combination of personality traits that defines who they are. So it’s understandable that certain people who think in completely different ways can probably never understand each other. But they can contribute to each other. Throughout TWEWY, Neku partners up with 3 completely different people. You couldn’t ask for a more diverse set of characters. But in the end he learns to make friends with each of them. He takes the good traits they have and uses them to redefine his CAT philosophy to become one less selfish. It can be dangerous to completely absorb ideas contradictory to what the Bible teaches, but at the same time we need to expand our worlds to better refine our own believes of the truth.