Around the first of the year, I choose my #oneword365–play. The goal was simple: to be more open, more creative and more centered in the moment. As I saw it, these were all elements that could be addressed with an attitude of playfulness.
So, almost six months in, how’s that going?
Oddly enough, the answer to this question ties perfectly well into another question I’ve been asked lately–”why aren’t you blogging as much?”
Here’s the answer to both: summer.
I don’t mean this in the frenzied, “oh my gosh, it’s summer, the kids are home from school and my life is so busy” way. No, I mean exactly the opposite. For several weeks I have done nothing in my spare time except soaking in every possible moment outdoors. Mainly, I wander around my small garden beds, eyeing plants and pondering where I can plant more.
As is the nature of time, spending all of it on outdoor stuff meant spending none of it on indoor stuff. Honestly, I was worried, a bit as I crept out of the house at 5:30 to pull weeds and inspect plants that the urge to write may never come back. In the winter, these early morning hours are filled with a cup of tea and a writing pad. I crave these moments. (Although I don’t get up at 5:30 in the winter! That’s for really devoted people.) In the summer, though, the sun’s gravitational pull becomes personal, calling me outdoors before I’ve even brushed my hair. The cup of tea cools on the patio table while I check on the plants, whispering to the zucchini who are popping up, noticing the bloom on a new-to-me flower and pondering whether we’ll get raspberries this year. (The birds tend to get them first.)
The love for gardening is closely tied to a love for mystery and creativity. While I suspect there are gardeners who thrive because they approach their plots with precision and control, I don’t know any. All of the gardeners I know thrive because they feel a creative burst and a willingness to experiment. Working in the garden is the closest I’ll ever come to doing magic. It’s a special game of give and take, an improv of wonder. It’s no surprise that paradise is often depicted as a garden, a place where God might leave secret messages in the leaves and every flower is a love note.
So this is the idea I’ve been pondering in my early morning forays to pull weeds or adjust the sprinkler just right–the idea that we might play with God. This is a surprising thought. I am more comfortable with revering God, serving God or even resting in God. But As I call my daughter over to inspect this multi-colored dianthus nestled in within a patch of bachelor’s buttons, or we laugh as we survey the patches of sunflowers the squirrels planted for us last fall, it’s possible to imagine that God the Creator may be joining in this laughter. I am filled, suddenly, with the understanding of a God who created not in an orderly 7 days, to-do list in hand, but in a cacophony of sights and sounds that morphed and changed over millennia.
So that’s my goal for the summer–to let the garden inspire me at play in other areas of my life. Work, prayer, parenting. And whether gardening is your thing or not, I hope you’ll find time to play too.
Thanks to the great #wholemama crowd for giving me this writing prompt on play. I’m looking forward to blogging through the summer with them!