Thoughts on Play – Part V
Here are two more gems that essentially stem from theologian Jurgen Moltmann’s Theology of Play: Play relativizes our ‘over-seriousness’ toward…
Here are two more gems that essentially stem from theologian Jurgen Moltmann’s Theology of Play:
- Play relativizes our ‘over-seriousness’ toward life, filling us with a spirit of joy and delight that carries over into all aspects of life. Play lightens the load of worry, eases the burden of pain, and decreases the pressure of stress. One reason I love rock climbing is because you can’t focus on anything else when you’re doing it. I don’t need drugs to escape from my problems. I can get “high” the good old fashioned way by moving vertically up some rock. God visits me not just at the top but all through the ascent. By the time I get to the top of a mountain, I feel closer to God and inevitably the world and my problems look smaller.
- Play is not time out from work, a short respite to return us for greater productivity. Nor is play “rest time,” as if you don’t have to fully engage in it. Rest is its own activity, necessary and worthwhile. And so is play its own necessary and worthwhile thing. It is kingdom foreshadowing. It is a momentary escape into the future reality God intends for us all. And it is important.
So here’s my appeal to help us get play off the schneid. We’ve got to give play its proper dignity instead of housing a subconscious guilt that if we enjoy life too much, something must be wrong.
I don’t want to be one of those people who lives with the distinct feeling that my life has not yet started, and I’m still waiting for the proper moment to begin. In the words of Tim Hansel, “each day is a new, unrepeatable, once-in-a-lifetime gift. To waste it by always waiting for tomorrow, by continually preparing to live, or by thinking that enough is never enough, is pure folly.”
Play is important. For the health of my soul, playing is as important as praying. It re-creates me and reconnects me.
Maybe you’re still unconvinced, determined to relegate play to the realm of insignificant activities that has no major place in your life.
All I can say is you’re making a mistake. And if you do meet Jesus one day in heaven, I’ll bet you’re in for a big surprise.
In the meantime, if you’re sure it’s better to devote your energy to work, work, work, because that seems like the bigger deal to you, consider these words from Tim Hansel:
“Is it so small a thing to enjoy our days and to enjoy God? Is it so small a thing to be grateful and to be happy, to be at peace with ourselves and with God? Is it so small a thing to fly a kite with your child, to take a walk, to play catch, to wrestle on the lawn, and to have pure fun? Is it so small a thing to make our days count rather than count our days?”