Thanks readers for sending in such great insights. What's the big deal on adults getting balanced play in their lives? After a long period of research I 've had to laugh at my serious pursuit of why we need humor, fun and play in our lives to live abundantly. Oh, please Kay, take a breath and rest your eyes and hands.
O.K. therein lies the issue. Take my eyes off me and mine , and look up to the Lord. Pride and fear are the enemies that steal my joy and sense of childlike faith.
Not to waste all that research I'm going to take a few days to explore my obstacles to play and joy. By the way, the picture above is my goal....no, that is not my photo. Neither was the shot yesterday. Both of these women just give me a visual to strive toward. Oh, yeah!!!
Here we go with the facts on why I really need to take myself more lightly:
I'm a fan of PBS' Garrison Keillor and his long running radio program "Prairie Home Companion." I love visiting the mythical Minnesota community of Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.
Dare to visit Lake Wobegon with me today and let's see what we may have 'bought' from well meaning parents and community that is impeding our need for play and humor.
The Norwegian and German immigrant farmers attend the Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church where Pastor Ingqvist holds forth, while the more recent Catholic immigrants attend Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility. Garrison Keillor's family attended neither for they were Sanctified Brethren. The Brethren were stricter than the Lutherans but they certainly weren't Catholics so on Memorial Day they had to march with the Lutheran parade because, as Keillor says, "We aren't Lutheran, but there [were] only two parades to choose from; if we Brethren put on our own, it would look like a few people going out to lunch."
Keillor "Of course, I never could dance at all, having grown up in a fundamentalist home, which you can tell by the way I move. The Plymouth Brethren believed that any rhythmic physical movement would awaken our carnal desires, just as sure as aspirin dissolves in a bottle of Coke, so we kids had to sit in study hall when they taught dancing in phys ed., couldn't go to dances, not even square ones, couldn't even join the marching band. I wanted to dance. Wanted girls to know that what I lacked in aptitude I made up for in sheer avid interest. Couldn't dance because it would awaken carnal desire, which in my case was not only awake, it was dressed and down on the corner waiting for the bus. The Brethren are good people but they do leave a mark on a boy."
Scandinavians in Minnesota are accustomed to harsh weather, modest life styles and lives focused on work not leisure. In telling the story of a middle-aged man who is wondering if he will ever inherit the family farm. Keillor shares on the show that the farmer was "raised to bear up under hardship and sadness and disappointment and disaster, but what if you're brought up to be stoic and your life turns out lucky - you're in love with your wife, you're lucky in your children, and life is lovely to you - what then? You're ready to endure trouble and pain, and instead God sends you love - what do you do? He'd been worried about inheriting the farm, meanwhile God had given him six beautiful children. What happens if you expect the worst and you get the best?"
Keillor may have hit on one of our roadblocks to abundant living. When things are going well do we create some drama or unhappiness so we can live in familiarity? I've shared a few times that I'm a BT...oh that's my original acronym for the dysfunctional family I was born into. Born in Trauma: BT. I recall Marion Bond West, author and friend, and a BT, burst my bubble with this remark one day. "Kay, you and I learned to deal with crisis so well we might be crowned Crisis Queens. Do you suppose we create a crisis because we just want to reign?" Ouch. Marion and I share the gift of tell it like it is!
Regret can sneak up and steal the joy of the moment. I've wasted what could have been a great day worrying with dread about what might happen...worrying about the unhappiness I'm fearing coming tomorrow, or the day after that, or sometime soon.
Keillor says that when Lake Wobegon Lutheran women go to heaven, they will think it is church and ask where the kitchen is. When the men arrive, they will look at the Heavenly Father's mansions and talk about roofing: asphalt shingles or cedar shakes?
God invites us to a party and we turn it into a geometry test. God gives us life to be enjoyed, not endured.
Laugher is throughout the Bible. In fact, I'm convinced Jesus smiled and laughed often. I concluded that when the children were pushing through the crowds trying to get near Him. Children are always drawn to pleasant smiling fun-loving people.
People with a sense of humor can watch themselves and laugh at their own trials and tribulations. The deadly serious people in the Drama Zone are the ones who almost never say, "I can laugh now . . ." They often have no hope and thus may not honor the glorious strength of humanity -- the human spirit. Humility, humor, and humanity. I'm finding God planned in my humanness and He isn't upset with my honest mistakes...why should I be?
Of course, balance is the biggee...again. I can get all into work...to the exclusion of everything else. I can also get all into play; yep, to the exclusion of work that needs to be done. Today's blog is a good example. It's been fun, but I have a long list of have-to's. So, I gotta' go.
But I do want to encourage you to have hope, no matter what, to not take yourself so seriously that you don't have fun and joy in this day. Rejoice in the Lord! Rejoice in being alive.