Sunday Firesides: Permission to Be Wholesome, Granted

I’m here to talk about the permissiveness of survival games in general. Whether they’re too bloody or not, I think it’s a good time to ask what you find wholesome and rewarding. What are the characteristics that make something enjoyable for you? And how do our preferences shape our expectations of this type? Let’s start with my personal favorite: Minecraft

“I understood afterwards that I only needed someone to give me permission to be wholesome,” a friend of writer Rod Dreher told him after being moved by a family that showed true, guileless pleasure to give up a hedonistic lifestyle and accept their religion.

It’s a permission that a lot of people appear to be waiting for these days.

The contemporary citizen’s default position is one of dissatisfaction and disinterest. To prove you’re not a square, you exhibit a little edginess by clinging to a few vices and peppering your speech with profanity. To show you’re not naïve, you keep your beliefs and feelings at arm’s length and frame them with plenty of skepticism. 

However, there are moments when you get the feeling that, although adopting this type of world-weary insouciance makes you feel cool, it doesn’t make you happy. You think stuff like: When your on-the-ground experiences run counter to the dominant cultural trend.

“I don’t drink nearly as much as I used to. It’s wonderful to be sober.”

“I adore my loved ones. My children are delights to me, not mini-terrorists or responsibilities. “Some of the nicest things of life are eating pancakes on Saturday mornings, playing board games, and riding bikes together.”

“It’s wonderful to be really loving and excruciatingly honest with people. Even when, particularly when, it is inconvenient, it feels fantastic to be thoughtful, kind, and honest.”

“Even though so much in the world is screwed up, I feel like there’s still a lot to be thankful for.” It’s fantastic to be able to grin a lot.”

Of course, you don’t need anyone’s permission to lean in and act on your findings. All you need is a smidgeon of countercultural audacity. And, by golly, as you live a life that is more goodness-embracing, contentment-creating, you will make it simpler for others to do the same.