the importance of fun

My wife read Brené Brown’s book
The Gifts of Imperfection,
and read me parts that struck her along the way.
And I was struck, in Brown’s research and her thinking,
by the importance of play—
and of fun.

So I’ve been thinking,
amidst the everyday frustrations and stresses of life—
the right regular annoyances and aggravations,
I’ve been trying to think, more intentionally,
about how much fun it is to walk to school
with the girls and neighbors and dogs—
come rain or snow or shine
(though one neighbor usually offers us a ride come rain!);
to walk to work and learn from the dog
just how fascinating dry, wind-blown leaves are;
to gather regularly on Wednesday nights to pray together,
to listen to children laughing and singing,
and to share our Wednesday night meal;
to have dinner with friends in the neighborhood and walk home
in the getting-a-good-bit-chillier dark;
to gather and wait with other parents at school day’s end;
to schedule play dates for both girls after school and walk home alone,
and then, at the appointed time,
walk to pick up one daughter with all her soccer stuff
to drop her off at the soccer field on the way to pick up the other;
to spontaneously decide it’s time to walk to the local ice cream parlor
(even if it is cold outside);
to be on the soccer field with twelve girls
and parents on the sidelines as the sun sets and the moon rises;
to pick up a daughter after an evening movie at a friend’s house
and sit on the back porch of the host family
with other parents there to pick up their girls
and to enjoy a glass of wine and some conversation
and then walk home under the stars holding hands
with a girl who had had such a good time,
to head down to the grassy field of our neighborhood playground
where the neighborhood association arranged
for a giant inflatable screen and a stereo system,
and to spread out quilts to be on and blankets to be under
and share pizza and carrots and hummus
and watch Hotel Transylvania while children run around with glow sticks;
to gather regularly for worship—
the reading of Scripture, the practice of prayer,
the discipline of mindfulness—to think and sing together—
to engage in reflection and conversation about what’s most important,
and to laugh.

Yes, we all know there’s plenty about which to be frustrated,
too much that’s stressful—
that’s scary, that’s utterly beyond our control.
But,
and not to bury my head in the sand,
I know which I prefer contemplating!

That’s part of my understanding of Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing,
whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
[and if there’s anything fun,]
think about these things.”

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