More than most anything else, I want to be a person that knows how to play. But I struggle with that. Do you?
When I consider all the things I’d like to see in my life, it seems to me they’re the by-products of simple play. It’s giggles and adventure. It’s the spontaneity driven by connectivity. It’s something kinetic and electric. I crave movement. And yet, I resist it. Why do I do that?
First and most obvious, I would say, is the issue of time. There never seems to be enough. Still, I manage to make more than enough for the lesser things. Why is that?
I like to compartmentalize everything. I want to wait until it’s designated fun time. But fun can’t be put in a jar and perform on demand. It happens on the way out the door. And under a time crunch. It happens right in the middle of things. I have to let it in as it is and answer the door when it knocks. It’s sad to admit how rarely I do.
Second, and perhaps more telling for me, is maybe the why. I have to reach deep inside myself to access the place where this stuff is found living and breathing. The treasury I seek is hidden the vulnerable. I have to confess it exists to enter into it, but I prefer to keep this place guarded.
Third is the most crippling I think. It’s the presence of others. I allow the potentially distasteful and probably unlikely thoughts of others to immobilize my truest expressions. But no emotion is complete until it’s expressed. Love isn’t. Neither is joy, or even sadness. None are finished inside me until I’ve let them be felt. I walk around only half full of the glory that waits- even beckons- for me.
Every day I have a choice to make about how I begin my day. Saturday I felt like I made the wrong choice when straight away I reached for my mom’s phone instead of my Bible. If you don’t know the story, my phone was recently stolen. Yes, I wrote about it. You can read that story too if you’d like. It’s titled “Can A Stolen Phone Be A Gift From God?” Now I use my mom’s phone.
I thought it would only take a moment, and I totally had in mind to keep with my schedule. Bible time with coffee, then a jog, were at the top of my list. Daily writing practice was of course part of this line-up. There were all the things, and just a little time. I finished checking my messages pretty fast and moved on to my computer. Again, I thought it would only take a moment to do this quick thing that I had wanted to do. I still totally had in mind to keep with my schedule. I’m addicted to checking things off my list. Check. Check.
Of course, it took a little longer than I’d planned. Just a little. I still would have had room to salvage the time that remained. By now, I’ve half-way gotten involved in a movie my mom’s watching. So I half-way read my Bible for the day, while still kind of watching “The Wedding Date” with Debra Messing. It’s not a great partner to devotion by the way, but nevertheless, I digress. I’ve still had no coffee at this point, and the tension is rising inside me. I’m becoming quite irritable as my time runs shorter. I can feel it. The vibe is totally off. I knew it from the start.
Today I awoke and lingered a moment before rising from bed. I let the excitement of a book I’ve been expecting in the mail lure me to open my eyelids. I go straight to my computer to check my email for confirmation of it’s arrival. There was no news, and I closed my computer. I was short on time before my mom left for work, and I wanted to see if there were Marco Polo messages from my friends before she did. There were. Yay!
I listened to them with great delight and then sent my mom off with happy greetings. My three-year-old niece asks my mom for a kiss. “A kiss, not a hug…” cause she’s wet. I had some laughs with my sister before she left for work too. I hadn’t rushed to my Bible today as I commonly do, but this felt different somehow than Saturday.
The dog keeps keeps running out the door, and usually this is no big deal. But the neighbors have recently installed a wooden fence that doesn’t serve to keep our dog out. This means I have to inform the neighbors to retrieve the dog. This is not something I wish to do. So naturally right when my sister’s walking out the door, this brilliant dog makes his escape. I guess knowing full well that I must catch this outlaw BEFORE he makes it to the alleged fence turns me into Catwoman herself. I duck and dive and jump over plants to cut him off right at the slat he was going for. A fantastic rush of adrenaline expresses itself in glorious laughter. I roar with it. I won.
After everything has settled, I read some Scripture from the 40th Psalm about how God has lifted me out of the pit and given me a firm place to stand. I’m reminded how He blesses the person that makes Him their trust rather than the false gods which are the lesser things. It says that many are the wonders that God has already done, and that the things He’s planned for ME no one can recount to Him. The Psalmist tells me that were he to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. Our redeeming God has put a NEW song in my mouth! Great is His love and faithfulness! He’s quick to save me in my needy condition because it pleases Him. May we who seek Him rejoice. Make us glad in Your presence, O Lord.
I did some good reading on the porch while it rained. Later I ate a jalapeno from our garden and went for a run. My nieces and I discovered the art of peeling a peach without breaking the peel. It looked like a red-orange snake. I learned also that I can distract the 3-year-old niece from being hurt by providing assistance while she does a well rehearsed flip. She says, “Stand on your tippie-toes…” This means get ready. She uses me as an anchor while she lifts herself up for a back flip followed immediately by a front flip. We finish with high fives and clapping and squeals.
We went for pizza… because it’s Tuesday. I invite all the whimsical conversation that the children like to make. I wish I could remember all the fun things they say. Earlier today, the 7-year-old says, “What’s wrong, Jelly Bean?” It’s something she’s heard from me. Isn’t that fun? There were woo-hoos and big cries and lots of “I love you”s. They came from right out of nowhere. And I smiled until my cheeks hurt.
Why was today different than Saturday? I wonder.
Saturday I reached for routine. Today I reached for delight.
What do you reach for, my friend?
I hope you said joy. And goodness. I hope you said Jesus. I pray that you know deep in your soul that His joy is full when yours is complete. I hope you know that He’s in His glory when it’s Him you enjoy. But because you can, not because you must. I pray that you reach out for the gifts He has given because He’d be sad if you didn’t. We can enjoy what He’s given, both for Him and with Him. That’s how all of the gifts become gifts we get to give back. It’s called joy. And all the rewards are still ours. Because that’s just how He likes it.
If the day was new, and the slate was totally clean, what might you do with it? Just for the fun of it.
The 3-year-old tells me, “Today was a beautiful day!” It certainly was. I think I might sit for awhile. Just for the fun of it.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4