Since my divorce a few years ago, my kids have spent almost every weekend with their dad. As he lives out-of-town, that’s the only time he can see them. It’s just the way it is. But they will be with me this coming weekend and it will be a full weekend of soccer games, friends, the apple orchard and the corn maze. A whole weekend of play! And I’m totally looking forward to it!
Playing feeds my soul in a way that nothing else does. I’m not sure who developed the notion that spirituality and religion should only be quiet, contemplative, structured, peaceful and serene. Do I have the Puritans to blame for that? Or the monastics? In any case, that is just one way to know God, it’s not the only way.
Playing gets us out of our sometimes suffocating adult selves with our schedules and rules and proper behavior. Playing helps us to laugh, act silly and discard all of those adult things that cover up our beautiful child within. It’s next to impossible to remain in a bad mood when you really let yourself play. Bad moods are typically caused by adult stressors – work, chores, family, the house, and all the responsibilities that can weigh us down. Playing makes our souls lighter, we take the other stuff less seriously, we remember to laugh at ourselves and at life a little more.
I’ve rediscovered coloring lately. No, I’m not aspiring at a career change. But I’ve really been enjoying drawing and experimenting and playing with colors. It takes my mind off of everything else for just a little bit and taps into the creative side of me. And that creative side is where God dwells, so I tap into the creative force of the universe and we play. There is no judgment, no right or wrong, no good or bad… I’m just playing.
So, why don’t we play more? Because we get stuck in our responsible adult ruts. Playing seems like cheating. “I could be doing something productive,” we say to ourselves. But who wants to get to the end of their lives and say “I wish I’d played more and been less serious”? I’d rather my obituary said that I knew how to play and enjoy life and have fun… even (or perhaps especially) in church.
Plan a way to play this weekend, guilt-free!