Archive for July, 2017

Jul 21 2017

August Journal: Improvising the Spirit of Play

Published by under Minister's Musings

Improvising the Spirit of Play
by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones
“I just don’t want to adult today.”
          This phrase pops up in social media so regularly that it now qualifies as a meme. Wait, you’re not a social media maven? Don’t know what a meme is? No worries! Here’s one definition: it’s a phrase, video, or image that catches the spirit of the moment, or a deeply shared experience, so well that folks keep passing it on until it has thousands of “likes” and “shares.”
I don’t know who first decides to use adult as a verb, but surely it sums up everything that is ponderous about the responsibilities of living in these times. Don’t we all want a break sometimes from the bills or the news, from our physical weariness or our flagging spirits?
Now, don’t get me wrong: overall I am a big fan of adulting. I like having a challenging job that I love and amazing people to work with (you!). I like having the communal power to make a difference, and I like waking up more and more to the difficult realities of this world because my heart grows larger and my mind stronger and my sense of kinship deeper as a result. The relationships made possible by such adulating are simply awesome and life-saving.
Still … there’s a spirit of playfulness in that complaint—“I just don’t want to adult today.” And I can relate!
On my Study Break this July—and during most of the daytimes in August, too—my coauthor Karin Lin and I are putting in long hours, wrestling with words, trying to capture big ideas, hoping to tell transformative heart-filled stories in order to get our book (new working title: Mistakes, Misgivings, and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism) to the publisher by early September. It’s serious business, a real calling. And we have had to remember how to step aside from the seriousness and improvise a sense of play in the hours not spent at the desk. Taking pictures, taking a stroll, meeting a dog or a horse or a cat, meeting a stranger or a friend, watching a show or gazing at the stars—just about anything that loosens our grip on urgency and deadlines for a breather can return us to that sense of wonder that playtime brings.
This month at First Unitarian you will find lots of opportunities for improvising a sense of play. Whether you spend time with our Partner Church visitors at the welcoming and the farewell parties, on July 26 and August 9; or join us for worship on August 6 when we’ll talk about FUN, on August 13 when we celebrate JAZZ, or on August 27 when we bring back news of Justice General Assembly, urging us to “Resist AND Rejoice”; or you simply show up for any of our gatherings, this month we improvise a sense of play in the midst of our adulting. I look forward to sharing this spirit of joy with you!
With love,
Rev. Nancy

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