You're safe here with me.

Something strange happened today and I just wanted to write it down somewhere.

Leaf’s Story released last night. And as it usually goes with game dev, on release, there’s just an overwhelming flood of emotions, each changing and swapping rapidly with each other until you lose track and you’re not sure if you’re straight-up out of your mind. Fear that no one will like it. Disgust at your own work. Relief that it’s over. Excitement and hope that people will like it. Pride at how you’ve grown. You adore your game and hate your game at the same time, hope everyone will see it and hope no one will see it at the same time.

(This is mainly why I’m having Antioch, my brother, handle all the feedback now. It’s a terrible idea to have a moody artist handle customer service when they’re basically having a nervous breakdown.)

As I was driving, picking up some celebratory Chinese food for a little launch party, one particular emotion lingered above the rest: disappointment. I reflected quietly as my phone cycled through my music playlist in the background.

I felt gross, I felt disappointed and disgusted with myself. I felt like a horrible Christian, a fraud of a game dev, a failure of an adult, and a self-centered entitled brat. Why did I keep doing things that were wrong despite knowing they were wrong, why was I so bad at adulting, why was I blessed with so much stuff and yet complained so much about money. And I remember very clearly thinking towards God—if that could be called prayer—

What do you even think of me? I bet you’re disappointed in me, or disgusted.

At that exact moment, the current song—Love Shot by EXO, a pretty excellent bop if I do say so—ended on my playlist. The next song cued. And I heard in a soulful voice:

Come out of hiding. You’re safe here with me.

The song was Out of Hiding by Steffany Gretzinger, and I’d heard it many times. But on this occasion, it just struck me directly to my heart. I suddenly felt tears surge to my eyes. Very rarely in my life do I feel like I’ve had an intimate or personal connection with God—but at that moment, it’s like I could hear exactly what he was saying, word for word.

I’d felt so ashamed and disappointed with myself. I was waiting for him to knock me down and be disappointed along with me, to judge me, to call me trash, just like I was calling myself. But instead, what was he telling me? Safe, that I should feel safe when I was around him. And at that moment, all I felt was compassion.

‘Cause I loved you before you knew it was love.

Now, in my head, I know that this kind of moment can be called a coincidence. And maybe it was. I’m not all-knowing or some kind of spiritual genius. I was playing a playlist of my favorite songs. But even so, Out of Hiding by Steffany Gretzinger was the only Christian song on that playlist, and the fact that it literally cued right after I was thinking that thought? To me, it’d take more faith to assume that was coincidence than to assume it was Jesus showing me some love and mercy.

Anyway, it was weird. I can’t really properly describe just how deeply it cut in to me. I write lots of words and know lots of words from the dictionary, and I lack the proper vocabulary to explain why even just thinking of the event still brings tears to my eyes. But it was such a touching moment, a moment of pure compassion. And I just wanted to write it down.