26 October 2013

Playful Families

Today I have the honor of presiding at a baby dedication ceremony for some dear friends. Preparing for the ceremony has given me occasion to reflect on the mysteries of family and faith.

A baby is born. She has no choice in the matter. Who will be her father? Who will be her mother? She has no choice. But she receives what has been given and somehow she learns and grows. Her instinct tells her, “Eat and sleep.” Her body regulates itself—breath, digestion, heartbeat. She is born with taste buds and toes, feelings and fingers.

All this, filled with wonder. And ignited by delight. We snap pictures to capture all those moments of delight. The stories we tell are filled with interest because delight is either threatened or fulfilled.

We are born to play. We do not have to be taught this. We just do it. A mother sings a song while holding her child, just hours old. A father hides behind peekaboo hands, exploding with surprise, eyes wide open, inviting laughter.

There is a focus to all this play. Strangely, we concentrate attention on toys or books or balls as a way of paying attention to each other. We forget ourselves when we are engrossed in the fullest forms of play. We can be different and together at the same time in it all.

We do this to choose relationship that was chosen for us. We know that without this playing together we would be prone to drift away from each other. Delight keeps us together. Who wants to come unglued from joy? No one.

Joy fuels our faith in one another. The healthiest families enjoy one another. They make play a habit.


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