Taking Ourselves Too Seriously; Embracing Playfulness

Lord knows there is plenty enough to be serious about.

Abundant concerns keep many of us up-at- night. I'm certainly not discounting any of this. Anyone who knows me well could attest to the fact that I have been an activist for change. Especially when the vulnerable are being victimized, or human rights are being denied. But for Pete's sake...there is a time and place. The joy of freeform playfulness is in such short supply that we're running on empty. When expressing humor in jokes requires examination through a microscope before daring to laugh, we've gone too far. As Hamlet's mother might say, 'Methinks thou dost protest too much'.

Freeform playfulness is the best medicine for restoring your soul. It makes room for serious work that needs to be done later. The old song "Ain't We Got Fun" from the Roaring Twenties is a good example of how this all works. Even hard times can be faced when we understand that a lighter spirit will allow us to prevail through it all.

A favorite little phrase my grandson Jack and I used since he was a tot to set the stage for some barely restrained play was "Wait a minute". When invoked, some mischief was sure to follow. I probably rile up my grandkids too much. But it's so very hard for me to resist. Most other adults look at me with despair as the kids spin out of control. If they only knew how much restraint I am using in deference to their wishes, they would probably find a way to exile me to some far away island where only serious minded grown-ups reside. Inside, I'm like an adolescent Great Dane who wants to romp around and test all the boundaries. Oh, the trouble I could find with a pack of youngsters.

Freeform playfulness makes most everything an exciting, rambunctious adventure.

Just like the endless knock-knock jokes and silly punch lines that our parents seemed to find hilarious, Gods heart is filled with our joy and humor. Author and humanitarian Father Gregory Boyle talks about the importance of continual playfulness, He says God never tires of our jokes and that we feel reached by this tenderness. So, let’s give solemnity and earnestness a time-out. If we are down about the mouth, sullen and serious, the chance that anyone will react favorably is dubious or doubtful. The one who comes to the table with a good mix of serious intent and a happy heart always lights the way. It never fails. The by-product will be precisely what we were searching for all the time.

Hear Today’s Journal

Listen to the audio version of today’s Journal on the new A Mystical Elephant Podcast from Robert K Jones. Each episode is designed to help folks find some happiness and joy in a sometimes chaotic world.