Remember Playing?

My younger sister, June, and I arrived at camp, set up my tent, laid out our gear, and trudged up a hill to see what was on the other side. I pulled out my camera and snapped pictures till the sun set. June plopped on the ground and took in a few ragged breaths. This was clearly not her idea of having fun. But then, as she admitted, she didn’t have any ideas what fun was. That’s why she’d appealed to me for help.

As a university professor, author, and lecturer, June rarely closed the classroom door behind her. I had to tug her sleeve a few times before she got with the program. But she did, and for two days we had a good time trail walking, picking wild flowers, and lounging in our chairs while sipping iced tea.

On the third day, we packed our belongings and headed down the mountain road, happy, satisfied, and ready to relive the experience again. Well, I was, but June not so much. Once was fun. Twice would be work. And she begged off repeating the experience by referring to her advanced age of 60!

“Play is perceived as unproductive, petty, or even a guilty pleasure,” according to Margarita Tartakovsky, MS, associate editor of World of Psychology. “Our society tends to dismiss play for adults,” she says. The notion is that once we reach adulthood, it’s time to get serious. And between personal and professional responsibilities, there’s no time to play.

“But play is just as pivotal for adults as it is for kids. Play brings joy. And it’s vital for problem-solving, creativity, and relationships.” These are fine words from the world of psychology, but I was curious about what the Bible says on the topics of joy and play.

James tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). It seems clear that fun, play, and rest are among God’s “every good and perfect gift from above.”

Play as You Wish

There are so many ways to play. Sewing, card games, sports, collecting stamps, or dolls may be one person’s idea of relaxation but the last thing someone else would even consider. My friend Lisa spends her evenings knitting. She has fun choosing patterns and then giving away some of her creative pieces.

Doug and Sherry play Ping-Pong.

My son enjoys a game of pool.

Jane and Dave walk their dogs at the beach and play Frisbee on the sand.

If you’re up for fun, you can find it countless ways with a variety of people who share your interests. Square dancing, woodworking, beach volleyball, and collecting shells are just a few of the ways you can enjoy a playdate.

If you’re the more sedentary type, find enjoyable activities to do close to home. Visit art galleries and museums, grow flowers and vegetables, join a music appreciation club in your community.

Let’s give thanks to God for dancing, and singing, and camping, and hiking, and reading good books, and attending great concerts, and traveling to new places. And, of course, laughing all the way!

K. O’Conner

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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