by June Friesen
When you read the title what was the first thing that came to your mind? For me I have so many memories of play from my childhood and even now. Oh yes, I still play and if you do not believe me I can have several people give witness to this. From time to time when my husband and I were dating and even after we were married he would ask me, “Why do you do that?” Or “Don’t you know that only children do that?” Would it surprise any one of you to know that even in my mid seventies my grand daughters as well as all of my children in our church family know that if no one else will play with them – I will? As a church fellowship we meet in a park once a month for food and fellowship and sometimes someone brings entertainment for the children. My husband has been known to take videos of us ‘having a good time.’ The first two photos are when my grand daughters were young – we would find ways to play together and explore creatively. Now their creativity is found in baking as well as sports.
127 1-2 If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?
Here in this Psalm even though it does not talk about play it talks about rest. Have you ever been busy doing something for an hour or more and you just say, “I have to sit down and rest?” What do you do when you sit down and rest? I have a number of things that I do when I sit down and rest. Sometimes I read, sometimes I play a game, sometimes I have been known to take a nap, but the main thing is that one needs to take time away from what one does for work. Now if you are one whose work requires much reading, thinking, processing and even writing you may not want to sit down and read a book to relax or play. When my husband and I were young adults, and he was in college, we would go hiking and/or play games. We didn’t always have a television so watching it was not an option. Now we have a television but we may have a sports game on yet we are relaxing/playing and only watching intermittently. Sometimes we may even take a nap as the brain is weary and needs revitalization. There are times when it says that Jesus also withdrew from the crowds – he was known to go off into the hills/mountains by Himself. Other times he would get into a boat with some or all of His disciples and they would go out onto the Sea of Galilee. There are times when one may feel they are indispensable because of so many duties at one’s hands to do – but taking time to rest only enables one to function more efficiently and effectively.
Another thing that comes to mind is vacations. In today’s world for the most part everyone takes time off from their daily work, daily duties etc. to do something where they can relax. For some it means going to visit family and friends who live some distance away, for others it means going and visiting a part of the country/world to enjoy different cultures/nature’s environment, or it may be to attend a special conference etc. Some people choose to go to places like Disneyland, SeaWorld etc. Others may choose to go camping along with fishing, boating, hiking etc. Yes, vacation should be a time of play in that it gives one an opportunity to break the routine of a regular work schedule plus caring for family and others needs. I would like to suggest that when one does take a vacation it is important to make time for playtime for all who are involved as it makes the experience more wholesome and personally rewarding for each one. Let us look at one more Scripture.
33 1-3 Good people, cheer God! Right-living people sound best when praising.
Use guitars to reinforce your Hallelujahs! Play his praise on a grand piano!
Compose your own new song to him; give him a trumpet fanfare.
Here you see a photo of a piano that I still have today. It was my grandmother’s piano that her father bought her for her 16th birthday in the early 1900’s so it is well over 100 years old. When I was very young my grandfather gave my family this piano as he bought my grandmother a brand new one. I, as well as my three siblings, took piano lessons on this piano and about 40 years ago my father showed up with it at my door in Phoenix because no one else wanted it. Now one of my favorite playtimes from the time I was probably third and fourth grade was to sit down and play the piano. I could play for hours. In my adult life playtime for me can still find me at a piano and/or keyboard. I have also written songs, sometimes using well known melodies and sometimes I have written my own music.
So as you can see playtime or play can be so many things. I would define it in my own definition as ‘something that gives opportunity away from the normal activities of one’s daily work/life that brings refreshment to the body, soul, and or spirit or all three.’ How might you play today to celebrate and embrace ‘playtime’ into your life and schedule? I will respond when this is posted as to how I chose to play this day – can I challenge you to do the same?
Happy Playtime to All!
Writing and photos by June Friesen. Scripture is from The Message Translation.
These beautiful prayer cards include 11 prayers by Christine Sine and crafted by Hilary Horn with watercolor succulent design and contemplative imagery are available for download. Each card provides a prayer on the front with a photo for reflection as well as a scripture and suggested meditative response to the prayer. Allow yourself to relax, refresh, and commune with God through each prayer. Immerse yourself in the reflection as you give yourself space to enter into God’s presence.