Mashed Potato Mountains (May 10, 2013)

…Opening To…

Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying
flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers…
How did it go?
How did it go? (Shel Silverstein, “Forgotten Language”)

…Listening In…

Some people brought children to Jesus so that he would place his hands on them and pray. But the disciples scolded them. “Allow the children to come to me,” Jesus said. “Don’t forbid them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children.” Then he blessed the children and went away from there. (Matthew 19:13-15; context)

…Filling Up…

The natural physical manifestation of imagination and wonder is our final thing to access from our early childhoods. This is called Play. Play happens when we engage both our imaginations and our bodies. We dance to unheard music, we build castles with pillows and sheets, we sculpt mountain ranges with our mashed potatoes, we hum the language of mosquitoes.

For our early years, play is the most common manner in which we encounter and learn about the world. There is very little separation between play and the rest of life. There’s no such thing as “playtime” because all time is playtime. Play leads to better manual dexterity, better spatial relations, and more active imagination. But at some point during childhood, play becomes segregated from the more serious side of life. Parents tell children to “stop playing with your food.” The message is now: “Dinner is serious business.”

But this segregation between “play” and “the rest of life” can be damaging to our walks with God. The more pure the play of small children, the more they are able to access the unfettered creativity that God used when creating the Universe. In a sense, God was playing during creation: what other explanation could there possibly be for the duck-billed platypus!

So go ahead and play with your food. Make a mashed potato mountain range, and maybe you will find yourself in a deeper connection with the One who made the real mountains.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you filled your Creation with wonders for us to see and learn about. Help me to find the curiosity and the inhibition to be truly playful again, that I might let go of the bounds I have put around you. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, joyful that I have been in your presence for my whole existence, whether I remember or not.

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