The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all. ~Frederick Buechner

After Action Report

World of Warcraft

We had wiped out 9 times on Globulus.

The conversation had started out full of hope and grand expectations of one-shotting this minimal boss that sat before a difficult encounter we were anticipating. Conversation over Vent (a Skype-like app) was down to groans and jokes not laughed at. We were a good group, no drama, no accusations—but we were not having fun.

For the unenlightened, I’m referring to a group-based battle against a somewhat difficult monster (boss) in an online role-playing game called World of Warcraft.

My wife and I had played this online game for four years at this point. We had found a perfect group of friends to share our Friday and Saturday evenings with, from around 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. It was like “poker night,” only a little more serious.

Serious in that we enjoyed our time together, but we all wanted to be the best players possible, progressing in the game and getting accolades in the form of nice gear. This meant we had to be on our toes, but also willing to examine ourselves when something wasn’t working.

This came in the form of the AAR (After Action Report). This was one of the more unpleasant discussions I’ve ever been involved in, looking for weaknesses in a non-accusatory manner, being humble enough to accept constructive criticism and realize you may not be quite good enough in some areas, and others had to carry you when you couldn’t quite make the cut. This included everyone, so criticism went all around.

There are parallels everywhere in life and this was one for me. No, I am not the type of person to be the “best Christian ever” because I know that means running on my own steam and that steam is, well, vapor. This AAR taught me something about that.

Accepting constructive criticism was a concept I never quite grasped until now. That God, that people, wanted me to be better and not give up on these things I had already resigned as being me. Oftentimes it was not about being a better example, but of being able to admit I was wrong and being willing to change. Not an easy pill to swallow.

I had learned a lesson I keep to this day—accept criticism and listen to what other people (and of course, God) say about my weaknesses. It’s sometimes the things we can’t see in ourselves that are the hardest to accept; and furthermore, we must ask God to work on. Sometimes we can all use an After Action Report in our lives.

Oh, and the following weekend, we downed Globulus and went on to 2-shot the well-known difficult boss.


Rick Mills
Latest posts by Rick Mills (see all)