Holy Apostles Youth Group Blog

The Spiritual Value of Play

Julie Ross, Holy Apostles Youth Director“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
– Plato

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes. First, it ignites my curiosity to think how this
prominent philosopher may have played. Zombie Tag with Plato anyone? 

Secondly, my mind quickly brings back memories of those close friends that I feel comfortable laughing, playing, and being silly with. I know them and feel known by them differently than by those in my life where this freedom feels absent.

It reminds me of how Father Mel described Eden last month. He painted an image of a perfect garden in which a naked boy and girl frolicked with God. Frolicked. That was the word he chose. How often do we describe our spiritual life using words like frolic? I associate this adjective with daisy chains, chasing tigers, and maybe even a little hide-and-seek. This is not the standard picture of God or a spiritual life. Centered around being both innocent and silly?

Sounds a little crazy, no? But then again, we know from the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus was a man that children were drawn to. They wanted to be in his presence, to sit and talk to him and he challenged his disciples
to be more like those little ones, for He said that the kingdom of heaven belonged to them.

Play is something that comes natural to us; no one has to teach a child to play. There are rules and guidelines to be taught to better play together, but imagination, creativity, and laughter come naturally from a child. 

Within play comes the freedom to laugh. To embrace this freedom also requires vulnerability. Play asks us to put down our fears of being seen as foolish and engage silliness and joy.

Yet somewhere in adolescence, being playful conflicts with being grown up. At what point did we have to decide between the fun thing to do and the mature thing to do? Maybe sometime around our first job or during that super tough year of school? Somewhere in the business of life, we can forget to stop, enjoy, and laugh with others. It was an honor a week ago to get to re-member the feeling of joy.

During the Youth Huddle we had the chance to experience a taste of what it is like to remember, to re-unite with the playfulness of Eden. No one denies the importance of play for children, but I believe that it is just as important, if not more so because of how busy we get, burdened with the daily stress of life, to enjoy play as both young
adults and older adults and to allow the frolic of Eden back into our lives!

Thank you!
~ Julie
Holy Apostles Youth Director

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