From my home address here in America, I don’t see a lot of people having fun. I see a lot of people busy and consumed. I see a lot of people running fast to finish this to get that so they can run faster. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s for work… making money—or for play—spending money… actually it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. Are we getting wound tighter and tighter? Have we lost our ability to chill and just be?
As a student of the teachings of Jesus, I would describe having fun as any activity where we (1) relax and (2) laugh and (3) interact playfully. First, we relax—it’s actually slower paced, not rapid. Things that speed up our psyche are actually addictive in nature—no fun there. It seems our leisure time is often wrapped up in very engrossing, intense “games.” Think about it. What is relaxing about watching other people live intense lives on TV, or killing animated enemies to reach the top level of your video game? Not a lot.
Second, we laugh. Whether full out in the belly, or giggling-like in our chests, it’s us being caught off-guard, us taking delight in something, or us being tickled to our core. We are amused or giddy and can’t help but make some noise over it. This is nothing like smirking and being cynical. When a person smirks, takes digs and chuckles, it’s more like they’re pouring out their frustration, hiding their disgust or superior airs in sarcasm—which is actually a form of anger. This is probably not someone you’d describe as relaxing and fun to be around at all. In contrast, hang out with small children. You want to see the real deal? Watch a child being sprayed by a water hose or trying to pet a kitten, or waiting for a surprise—that’s laughing.
Thirdly, and probably most significantly, to really have fun in that fully human being sort of way, we need to interact with each other playfully. Check out your life for a minute. How often does what you do for the fun of it involve other people? Real live human beings whose names you actually know? It seems a lot, no, most of our leisure time is consumed with activities that are solo in nature. Yes, and yet to really play and have fun—human style—it’s not enough to have a computer, TV or mall as your companion… we need play time with our own species.
Fun isn’t about getting away from people and finding peace and rest in the solitude of a hobby or private activity. This is down time at best, and addiction at worst. Fun, on the other hand—if you buy into the teachings of Jesus—is about being together and being heard and seen and enjoyed. It’s about you interacting with people—your own kind—in a playful, lighthearted manner.
With that in mind, take a look what’s happened to our fun. As kids we used to play a game of ball for fun on Sunday—interactive, invigorating, playful. Now we watch million-dollar employees play the game from our couch—to prove their superiority—work, work, work. We used to play card games around the table—all kinds—and now we rush to get first dibs on the computer so we can compete with a machine. Think about it, there’s almost no such thing as a pick-up game anymore. Instead kids are driven from little league to ballet to violin lessons to exhaustion.
And where is all the fun? Where are those afternoons where we don’t accomplish anything, but hang out and laugh and ramble and just be? What happened to centering an evening around putting together a good meal and setting the table and talking and reliving those silly little stories from our own silly little lives?
It’s a question worth answering.
Clarissa Worley Spoul writes from the Pacific Northwest.© 2002 - 2021, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.