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My great-niece leaps above the in-coming tide of the Atlantic Ocean, Ogunquit, Maine, June 2022

Such joy touches mine!

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

Nothing like a folk tale to engage imaginations and enlarge the world around us—Such is the Brothers Grimm’s Town Musicians of Bremen (1819), still enjoyed by young hearts, six years old or ninety.

The story begins with an aging donkey, decrying his master’s displeasure over his slowness in pulling the cart to market. Rather than face probable death, the donkey flees to Bremen where he will become a musician.

On the road he meets a weary dog, fire thinning his bones. No longer able to hunt, he fears being put down by his master. But the donkey’s invitation to make music sparks his interest and he climbs onto his back.

Next they meet a cat with a face “like three rainy days.” She fears her mistress’s 

drowning, because blunted teeth prevent her from catching mice in their cottage. She, too, joins them.

Then a rooster crowing with all its might causes them to pause along the road. They learn that cook will cut off his head and prepare him for tomorrow’s dinner. He, too, welcomes the invitation and they continue on toward Bremen.

Although the story contains other adventures, I want to focus upon the four friends, so human in their fears of aging and the specter of death. Happily, the donkey sees beyond his fate and chooses an alternative: making music for others. So inspired he is that others choose similarly and climb onto his back and head for Bremen where everyone loves music.

It’s about discovering and developing meaning in life that keeps us fresh—even living with a terminal illness. I have found it so.

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