Tuesday, February 24, 2004

A Life-Changing Experience...

It's nearly 3 AM in the morning. By the time I finish writing this, it will probably be past 4 AM. I just feel like I have to write this down to help take the weight off. If you're reading this expecting something funny, scroll down to another one of my blogs as this is coming straight from the heart.

I just finished having a 2+ hour talk with an online friend I first met probably a year or so ago on battle.net playing Diablo 2. He had quit for about 3-4 months, and he had just come back for the first time tonight. I saw him on and started casually talking about stuff...where he's been, if any of his characters had expired, etc...

Eventually, he revealed why he had been absent from Diablo 2 for so long. Apparently, his wife has been cheating on him recently and they are considering a divorce, which is heartbreaking because they have a young child named Dylan who is too young to understand any of this now but who may end up growing up with only one loving parent. Because of this, he feels isolated and alone and depressed about life in general.

Without going into too many details as I don't want to expose too much of what he told me to the general public, I want to give some background as to the situation. Dave (the friend I was talking to) is 20 years old right now and married to Lynae, who is 19. They got married about a year ago or so due to the fact that Lynae was pregnant with their child, Dylan.

Long story short: Lynae recently cheated on Dave with his best friend, Jared. Several months after it happened, Lynae told Dave about it and since then it has literally torn Dave apart to the point where he feels he is at rock-bottom and has nowhere to turn. He told me he has always had low self-esteem and was never very social, and that the only 2 people that he really opened up to were Lynae and Jared. So now that they have betrayed him, he feels that he cannot trust either of them or anyone else and he is now very dejected. He said several times during our conversation that he hates his life, and that he hates himself.

Personally, I have no experience with serious relationships like this, but I felt like I was Dave's last beacon of hope, and that I had to do something to get him out of this self-detrimental state he was in. So I listened to him pour his heart out about every little detail of what happened, and I did my best to encourage him and tell him that he couldn't dwell on this forever...that he had to continue on with his life and stop living in the past and to try to do what is right for his son Dylan. I'm not going to cover every detail of what he said and how I responded to it since I don't remember everything and plus it would just be too long.

One thing Dave has going for him is that he is religious and that he truly believes that God will be there for him when he needs him. I continually tried to encourage him to think of this experience as a test of will...that he needs to be willing to accept the fact that he made a mistake marrying Lynae at such an early age when she obviously does not love him completely, and move on without being so hard on himself. Fortunately, he has his ideals in the right place now. He wants to do what's best for his son and he wants to stay in his church and remain faithful. It's just that he has absolutely no self-esteem right now because of what his wife and best friend did to him so it's extremely difficult for him to do anything productive with his life right now.

So I felt that it was my responsibility to be Dave's support even though he didn't want to keep me up so late since he knew I had school tomorrow. But I insisted on hearing his story in its entirety and trying my best to make helpful and positive comments. I was really surprised at some of the insightful things I said throughout the conversation...I didn't even know I had it in me as I've never talked to anyone about anything like this before. As I reflect on some key parts of the conversation where I felt I was making an impact on his point of view, I think I really did make a difference in his life for the better.

He was very self-detrimental throughout the conversation even when I tried to accentuate a strong point of his personality or when I tried to put a positive note on the negative feelings he was expressing. He kept saying that no one would want to marry a 20 year old divorced father of one, and I kept telling him that it didn't matter what had happened in the past, but that he would find a woman who loves him for who he is...and not for who he was. And after about 2 hours of talking and encouraging and helping, I could tell I was really starting to get through to him. And that made it all worth while. I could tell everything that I said eventually clicked. I could tell that every positive thing I helped him realize about himself was starting to sink in...that he really wasn't alone in the world and that he really did have hope after all had seemed so grim.

It was a very powerful feeling for me to realize that I may have helped Dave get back on the right track of life. As the conversation started to end, he thanked me several times for everything that I said and that because of what I had told him, he felt he was able to restart his journey of living life again, after everything he held so dear to himself was torn away. He acknowledged that it was going to be a long and hard process to start anew after losing almost everything that was important to him. But at the end, he told me that he realized that he still has God to turn to, and that he always will have him throughout his life. He told me that I was a great friend and that he was very appreciative of what I had done for him.

And this whole experience was so new to me that I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, so I had to put it down in writing. I can't think of a better way to start Great Lent than helping a casual acquaintance from a video game literally turn his life around by simply saying some kind and positive words in order to start him back on the path of life. As I look at the clock right now, it reads 4:21 AM. I'll have to get up and go to school in 4 hours. But what's a little lost sleep compared to changing someone's life? It's an amazing feeling.

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