As we continued our exploration of the Beatitudes Jo and Dave invited us to go into the chapel and play. There were a range of children’s toys scattered around the space and we were just left to play with them. People moved around choosing whether to build a lego tower, or do some colouring in, play i the sand pit or host a puppets tea party. For some playing seemed to come quite naturally, for others it was hard work. After a while we talked about what the experience was like. Some had enjoyed it, others described feeling awkward, or having a sense of wasting their time.
Jo shared with us something from Berne Brown’s book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection‘. We talked about how play can help us develop creative approaches to problem solving and how it can simply allow us time for recreation that isn’t focused on achieving something particular.
She then read to us a piece by Bonhoeffer reflecting on ‘Who is pure in heart’. and another quote that read ‘We approach God in a way as if we are trying to achieve something. We need to approach God like our father with whom we are invited to play. To be open and trusting and vulnerable.’
As we talked together we realised that those who had said it was difficult to play with the toys had said that they felt self conscious doing it. There was a sense of being worried about what others would think. There was also a sense that simply playing was time wasted – there was a deeply instilled sense that time should be used in a productive manner. We went on to discuss research that looked at the links between creativity and the ability to be playful. Perhaps for some of us there was a need to release ourselves from being product focused and to allow for playful experimentation.
All this brought us back to thinking about being pure in heart – the connection being that being childlike might be the thing that opened up a purity of heart and a purity of intention. We may simply enjoy being in God’s company, perhaps ‘wasting time’ with God rather than always trying to achieve more, to have a better relationship with Him,. When we are able to do that then maybe we will see God.