Did I just write a post with this same title?  

Ever since I realized I needed to focus on worship and play, I’ve been thinking about these two ideas a lot. It finally occurred to me why these things are so important right now, while I’m in one of my most painful and overwhelmed seasons since my husband died a year ago.

Worship brings us out of the limits of the mundane broken world to a place and a person who is beautiful and loving and eternal. Play brings the mundane broken world more in line with the joy to come. Worship helps us remember and see the good to come, play brings today a little closer to it. 

But play is a skill most of us develop in childhood, but forget as work takes over our lives. I think I asked this before, but seriously, HOW DO YOU PLAY? 

I even sat down with a professional to talk about this the other day and nothing came to my mind that isn’t currently prevented by the summer heat. 

This week a few things happened that ended up being good real play. 

Painting fun!!  First of all, I can’t draw a circle or a straight line and detail work is like fingernails on a chalk board to me. But going out with friends and having a drink while laughing at your ability to follow the instructor’s direction was about the best mental health things I have done that didn’t include the beach. There was no thinking involved and very little time for conversation even though we were with some of my favorite conversationalists. It really was play. I’d just finished telling my therapist I hated arts and crafts and so that whole category of things was not play to me, but… maybe I was wrong. At least this was fun, and for a few hours I remembered what was good about living. 

Playing in the rain! My daughter hates bugs right now, so the heat isn’t the only thing that has dampened our outdoor play. But the rain creates a big free zone. Twice in the last few days we have gone to play on the garden and backyard in the rain. The amount of rain determines whether we take rain gear or wear our PJs but it’s real play. 

Ice cream!! This was something Shah would often lead. It would be about to get dark and we would be considering going to bed when he would suggest driving across town to find a really good ice cream, gelato, or custard place. I had some really good times with really good friends, and one important meeting where I looked professional, but besides that I’ve not really bothered to do much in the way of getting dressed or putting on make-up. And while I’ve worked a lot, I’ve also laid horizontal on the couch, bed a floor, most of the rest of the day. So leaving the house at 8:00 to get ice cream and putting on a bit of make up was quite a diversion. It counts as play because we ate outside watching the view. It shouldn’t be so startling for me to see people dressed with hair done makeup on, going out for Friday night fun. Maybe we do need to leave the house more often. 

Child’s play!! Not really play for me. My back hurts and I just want to go lay down. But Zoya need to play as well and there was no better way of commemorating our engagement anniversary than fixing a plate of fruit and cheese, just like he used to do, and climb in her castle, just like he did, and play like she wanted to play, in the castle throwing a ball. 

My point with this is, you have to find your own play. Painting surprised me and was my play. This tent thing was more of a sacrifice. I’m not a sainted blessed mother who finds all toddler play fun. And the importance of playing with your toddler is a whole other post probably best written by someone else. My point is play with your kid or don’t play with your kid, it’s figure out how you play. What refreshes you?  What helps you remember that living is a good thing?  What helps you savor life?  What helps you live in the moment? What parts of this world look most like the whole unbroken world to come?

3 comments on “Learning to Play

  1. I think it’s good to find our inner child. Children find general happiness in their playtime. We need that too #keepwriting


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