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In my perception, the word play is like a lighthouse flashing critical illumination along hazardous rocky shorelines. Without play, darkness envelops the psyche, and encrusts inner faculties with viper-like stings, frequently self-imposed. With play’s bag of surprises, however, creativity surges; glee mounts as more of the beautiful reveals herself, in nature, art works, design, even a forgiven child with a skinned knee.   

A deeper look at play seems to suggest something of the Sacred, at work. The Old New Testament uses the verb, play, seventy-three times: with musical instruments, with harlotry, with performing, and with children. Each expression of play draws upon the individual’s imagination and uplifts listeners or warns them to wake up and observe the Law of Moses. 

A fifth use of this verb differs from the others. From the book of Proverbs (8:29-31) comes,

                    …when he laid the foundations of the earth

I was by his side, a master craftsman,

delighting him day after day,

ever at play in his presence,

at play everywhere in his world

delighting to be with the sons of man.

Within the essence of God, there seems to be a player who enjoys being with us, who takes delight with our efforts to play/ or co-create with him.

I would have loved to have known the sage who received this insight and gave it expression, centuries ago.

Elizabeth Lighthouse – Portland, Maine

I awoke at 6:25 A.M. with this inspiring dream:

Women from all parts of the world gather and pray for peace.

This glimpse into my psyche, cast in pastel blues waves, opened me to a different kind of power, one that seeks compassion, intimacy, and trust in the Invisible; one that softens rough edges, listens with the heart, that laughs merrily with life’s twists and turns. So profound is this power that violence shirks her company and flees like disturbed bats in underground caves dripping with slime.

Such transformations happen within the school of prayer, to which Women from all parts of the world devote themselves, unsparingly. In my perception of the diseased, truncated Planet Earth, only God’s intervention, with one psyche at a time, can facilitate some kind of restoration—a new creation, if you wish. Living around the edges of Life no longer works.

So what kind of prayer are we taking about? One that accepts the arduous work of rooting out the stale furniture in our psyches, one that tracks our wolf-like instincts and squelches them from another kill, one that quests for authenticity, one that prompts us to pal with like-minded individuals and rebuild the broken.

Only within the present moment, in prayer, can we be so touched. Such inflames more courage to face and live in the truth where we traipse boundless shores, where we hike mountain paths, where we are set free, our birthrights fully actuated.

It’s all around us, shriveling our spirits: the killing winds of the election frenzy, theprotracted bombing of Mosul, the sterile dispatching of unwanted babies, the wanton garroting of truth-seekers, the covert erasing of embarrassing truth, the procrustean lopping off of imagination, the programmed mauling of the Core Curriculum, and the list goes on …

Such is the outgrowth of hedonism, secularism, and materialism that continues candy-coating its evil through the social media. All of life is trivialized, left vapid, and fed by such reports as Kate Middleton’s twenty-one outfits, disparaged by the Queen.

Other than unplug, turn off cell phones, have meals at home, monitor our thinking, and discern the drift of our choices, what can we do?

It’s about waking up to who we really are: persons created in the image and likeness of God. Such requires taking time apart from the madness, listening to our breathing, plunging into our depths and remaining there, even if awkward. From this very darkness begins to emerge a different voice, one that corrects, consoles, and counsels. If receptive enough, an inner authority, one we learn to trust, sends fresh cues. Obeying them produces a vibrancy that warms our hearts and others. No longer do we expose them to the seductive madness around us, no longer addicted to “the religion of rush,” as the Irish seer, John O’Donohue has said.

Thus guided, we co-create with our God.

 

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