Play helps me to live in the present rather than dwelling on the past, worrying about the future, or living in the land of "If Only" ("If only this day were over"; "If only my body were more toned"; "If only I had more money"). The present is full of gifts I miss when I'm not living fully in the moment. But when I notice and engage the gifts of the present, I begin to see how much goodness and grace God put in the world, my body, and soul. These reminders of God's goodness and grace buoy my trust in him. And it's trust in God that ultimately quiets my anxious heart.
(You can read a short article I wrote about play as a spiritual discipline here).
So last weekend, after several weeks of stress-inducing mishaps, I played like it was going out of style. Like really: my friends and I got after it. Thank goodness for friends who instigate play on the reg.
|Sometimes we are so excited to see each other that we greet each other with erratic jumping and cheering, as we are in this picture|
|More enthusiastic greetings|
A group of my closest friends and I started the weekend with a bang: we barbecued, chatted about life, and then, when the moon was full, we danced like it was 2003.
|Dancing in the dark in the living room (photo taken from outside, through the window)|
Dancing is the spice of life. Well, that and bacon. Dancing while eating bacon might just launch me into a state of unparalleled euphoria. We should all get together and try it sometime.
I love how much my friends love each other. And I love them:
Also, I'd forgotten how much fun dogpiles are. Everyone should try to have a dogpile at least once a year. I'd show you a picture of our especially large dogpile this weekend, but dogpiles tend to showcase lots of bums, jean-clad though they may be. And we can't have pictures of bums floating around on here, now can we? You can head over to the Pioneer Woman for that: ;)
After our living room dance party, I headed to a friend's house for a slumber party. Oh the delights of slumbering in a new place with good friends. And then, after a hearty breakfast with my girls, we met up with some other folks and headed to the beach for a friend's birthday.
It was a glorious day. Blue skies, warm sun, gentle breeze. It was the perfect day to learn how to surf.
|Heading to the beach!|
|Enough surf boards to go around|
And so learn to surf is exactly what I did.
For ten years I've wanted to learn to surf. But in college my track scholarship precluded surfing, in grad school I was too busy for weekend relaxin', and the last four years I've been too sick to learn. But last weekend, I finally did it. And you guys, surfing is one of life's true delights.
My friend Laura was my teacher. She is my adventurous, sporty friend and I love playing with her.
|Laura and I|
It turns out surfing is a great sport for former hurdlers since both sports require a lot of balance. I was surprised at how readily my body took to surfing. The hardest part was paddling through the bigger waves. It was tiring. And the cramping! Oh the cramping! I should probably do some strength training before my next surf trip....
And the bruises, oh the bruises! I've been finding them all over my body since my surfing debut. I didn't have any bad falls or collisions with my board so I can only figure that the bruising is from smacking against the board whilst paddling through big waves. There is so much bruising on my body, and there was so little violence in the water, that I'm beginning to wonder if I have an iron deficiency. Hey, any excuse to eat lots of steak, Jack.
|Oh the bruises!|
Eventually our beach day came to an end, and we made plans to grab dinner. Except wait: we discovered one of our friends, C, was going on a first date that evening with a guy she'd met online. All of my single friends know the agony of an online-facilitated first date, so we decided to help C out a bit.
"We'll come spy on you," we said. "If you need to end the date early, we'll be your moral support. And if you're into this guy, then we'll make sure he knows how awesome you are."
One friend chimed in, "Yeah, I'll walk up to you both mid-date and say, 'Wow, I couldn't help but notice what amazing you chemistry you two have. You're such a cute couple!'"
Another male friend said, "And then I'll come up and ask you out on a date when your date is walking back from the bathroom so he knows how desirable you are."
"Guys," C said amiably, "You're welcome to spy on us. This will be fun."
So we showed up at the designated restaurant that evening and sat ourselves where we could watch the date unfold.
Here is the moral support crew:
We have several photos of us with C and her date in the background. We also have several photos of us gals in the bathroom with C. When we girls noticed her heading for the ladies room, we flew out of our seats and met her for a mid-date debrief. And then we coached her through ending the date, which wasn't floating her romantic boat.
You guys, I love spying on friends who are on dates with folks they met online. I love being secretive. I love wearing all black (well, that was unintentional). I love analyzing the body language of the date participants and trying to figure out what they're talking about. I love covert bathroom powwows. This stuff is my jam, yo.
C discovered she loved having us there for moral support, too. So my friends and I decided to create a "moral support crew" sign up sheet that ensures each of us has a team of friends in the restaurant when we are on a first date.
Isn't that a great idea?
You should totally try it, all of you who still have to go on agonizing first date after agonizing first date. It will probably revolutionize your experience.
And there you have it: a weekend of play. Boy was it good for my soul.
I hope your weekend (and your Wednesday) was full of play, too!
© by scj