Some Days You Gotta Play

It’s one of the first languages we learn.  The language of climbing and chasing, swinging and sliding.  Of cartwheeling past fireflies, somersaulting to joy, embracing the slow fade to twilight, the end of the day. 

Play is how children learn to live in this world and interact with one another.  It’s the gateway into science and art and self-discovery.  It is essential to a child’s growth and development.  But what if play’s power isn’t meant only for childhood?

Tonight, I climbed to the top of the play structure, barefoot. I left my cares and worries on the mulch alongside my shoes, breathing more deeply, more freely, more contentedly with every foothold, every reach, every pull toward the top. When I reached the heights of the jungle gym, I let my feet hang through the ropes, I tilted my head to the sky and admired the view.

I like to think God has a playful side.  Have you ever watched an otter spin underwater?  Or a dolphin dance in the waves?  Have you ever noticed the playful mix of colors that make a glorious sunset pop so spectacularly?  It’s playful genius, all of it.  All created by the hand of God, all the joy of playful fun right before our eyes.

We too were created by the hand of God, and we were made to reflect God, to bear God’s image – we are created in the Imago Dei.  When we play, we tap into that playful part of God’s life instilled within us.  When we play, especially us adults, we remember deep inside that we were made for more than work, more than the daily grind, more than stress and responsibility and success.  We were made to enjoy this beautiful creation, this God who loves us so, these people God has given us to cherish. 

That’s what I remembered tonight, on top of that jungle gym.  I remembered not to take the day’s irritations too seriously – they’ll fade with the sun setting in the west, and more will rise tomorrow with the sun. 

No matter, life’s irritations will continually rise and fall, but there will always be this gift, always within my reach: a moment of play, a delightful connection to the Divine.


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