Over the last few years the staff at our church has dressed up on halloween and made the rounds to see a couple of shut ins, visit the radio station, stop by the newspaper, the bank, and perhaps another member who needs some cheering up. We sometimes will pass out a flyer and some candy to passersby. It’s not PR – it’s play. Play is an important part of destressing. If you don’t play you are missing out. Think of the fun you could be having by playing. Even if it isn’t included in your workplace there are some little things you can do to make it fun.
Now don’t turn play into another job – some people have messed up the way things are intended. People worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship. I came across a book by Stuart Brown, Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul (Penguin, $24.95). Stuart Brown seems to be lighthearted and hooked on playing. He made his office in a treehouse in Carmel Valley, Calif. He is tan, fit, and a 76-year-old psychiatrist who plays tennis with his buddies every week and takes a cross-country ski vacations with his adult sons and older brother in the Sierra Nevada mountains. But his message could not be any more serious, find regular time to play — or else – calamity and more stress.
Play is a design of God. It is a spiritual activity that releases all kinds of positive energy and helps deal with stressful situations. Like exercise it is a essential management tool in our life, even as adults. So play a little – just don’t turn it into more work. Even God likes to play:
24 O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the ocean, vast and wide,
teeming with life of every kind,
both large and small.
26 See the ships sailing along,
and Leviathan, which you made to PLAY in the sea.
27 They all depend on you
to give them food as they need it. (Psalm 104)