Play time is one of the divine gifts we ignore. We pray thanking God for food, work, rest, family, and friends. Yet, somehow we neglect the time that is associated with play. Being truly puritanical in our heritage, we American Christians find it easy to be thankful for work. No problem there. We even call “yard” work recreation.
One day while walking along a river my wife and I noticed a wild goose floating in some small rapids. He was giving an alarming “honk” as it was being swept along. I thought it was in trouble. But, as the rapid ended the goose swam to the other shore and began walking back up to where it started. Then another goose started to float from that upriver point to be pushed along the rapid too. Again, the same loud noise was made. And as that ride ended the previous goose started down the rapid again.
We told the story to a church member later that week. Her observation was, “Don’t it do your heart good to know they like having a good time too.”
Indeed it did. I have thought about watching animals play. People often play with pets. For years I thought the animal was doing something for the human companions. Last night I watched two wild rabbits running at and jumping over each other. Another one was merely grazing away from the other two. The rabbit was free to eat if it wanted or to join the chase.It is an expression of the fallen nature of humans to think there is something wrong in something every other mammal enjoys.
Play is an expression of freedom and grace. The English proverb, “All work and no play makes a dull man” is true. How we play tells us things about our character, our age, and our sense of fun. Humor is also an expression of play. Organized sports as well as games at home are family play times. We know how hard we find it when play time is somehow interrupted or a barrier is put up to it. Play is a divine gift of pleasure. We should use it and give thanks for it more often.