Oddly, I’m in a bad mood while I’m writing this blog. Not that it is odd for people to be in a bad mood, or for me to be in a bad mood, but I’m supposed to be writing about PLAY.
PLAY is the last thing on our Healthy Plate here at church as we’ve discussed things that give us a well-balanced approach to living as people of faith. It’s been interesting to notice that each item on the plate has a depth and breadth of meaning that can keep those words from being just the same old, same old church talk. And so it is with PLAY. It’s a whole lot of things. It’s an attitude. It’s a way of being. It knows its place.
But here I am in a bad mood.
So maybe at least one thing to think about PLAY, PRAY, GIVE, etc., is that our lives occur in a flow and there are times for all things, though maybe not every time is best for everything on the plate. Maybe we save some things for later. And that is OK.
So today as I sit in my bad mood, I’m keeping the idea of PLAY in my pocket — oh well, I’ll go ahead and write about it anyway.
PLAY is, of course, fun, games, celebration, laughter, lightheartedness; you could name more, I’m sure. People play in all kinds of ways and in all kinds of places.
But here are some other things about PLAY. It comes up from that innate spirit of playfulness. And that word is not as superficial as it sounds. It’s not always an escape into never-never land. It’s not just leisure time or recreation. Play and playfulness also keep us from getting stuck in sorrow, in conflict, in discouragement. Play and playfulness trigger creativity that can help us find another way, or at least find a way to be at peace when things aren’t what they should be. This innate gift is worth guarding and cultivating. Sometimes age and circumstance threaten it.
Playfulness is kind of an antidote to brittleness. The branches of the trees dance in the wind, they bend, they conform, and they survive the wind — unless they are dead.
Proverbs 31 pictures Wisdom as a woman — and she’s quite a superwoman (and guess what: she could be a man too). She’s domestic, she’s a business woman, and she loves and respects her family, her friends, and her employees — who benefit from her generosity.
One of the things said about her is “she laughs at the future,” meaning that she’s not over-worried about what she doesn’t know, or maybe it means she’s well-prepared. But pausing on the word laugh — I think she’s lighthearted, not burdened by the unknown future. The person writing about her notices this. It’s pretty encouraging to run into someone who has the wisdom to be lighthearted at the right time.
So, I’m still not in the greatest mood I’ve ever been in, but I know that PLAY is a gift. And it would really be odd to never unwrap it.