Week 5 Day 1: Play

Question: Play for at least half an hour today. How does it feel?

Write your Answer – click here

Share: #ssjetime #play

Transcript of Video:

All of creation, all of us play; all animals play, and we play. One of the things that I find is interesting about humans is that our brains continue to develop our whole lifespan, and so we have the capacity to play our whole lives. But like other things, we have to choose. And so we have to choose to play and when we do, that further develops our brain. Father Benson, our founder, said that God’s call is progressive. So I think that it’s appropriate to say that play is perpetual and it’s something that we choose. And as we choose to play, we continue to literally create our brains. And we also continue to grow spiritually, to become more fully the people God made us to be and those are people who – there is always something more. God is more and calls us into things further.

-Br. Luke Ditewig


  1. Janet on April 12, 2019 at 12:36

    I have collected beautiful coloring books while traveling and Japanese pencils with a very wide range of colors. My thought was that I could play, and family could play together when visiting. They sat in a beautiful basket and I had not pulled them out. I/We did not stop. I have lots of color theory books and my work requires me to contemplate and make decisions around color (what could be better?) I think it’s pretty tough NOT God/inspiration in color. Coloring books make it play. What fun this was to begin.

  2. Brenda on April 1, 2019 at 07:46

    Believe it or not, my play today was sleeping in ????

  3. Gwedhen Nicholas on March 28, 2019 at 19:25

    I am having a tough day, so being given permission to play felt really good. I don’t usually watch anything during the day. Today however, I watched Netflix in the middle of the afternoon and was late getting supper. It helped me a little. Now, it being evening, I am going to watch something more! Two boughts of play!

  4. Louise on March 23, 2015 at 20:30

    Played by going on a nice walk…returned and “played” in the garden pulling weeds. Yes, that was play for me!

  5. Elizabeth S on March 21, 2015 at 18:53

    I “played” this week. Went out with a friend to an outdoor music concert. It was fun in a very relaxed sort of way. I gave myself full permission to have fun and not worry about work or family or such. It felt renewing. I was reminded of my love for discovering new music and art. It was another step on my road to rediscovering who I am at heart. It was a good thing!!!

    • Nan on March 24, 2015 at 23:10

      Good job! Love your idea of play.

  6. Bonnie on March 21, 2015 at 14:03

    How wonderful that SSJE has so many respondents!!

    I love to play and it’s usually on Saturday with one of my daughters, and Tuesday and Thursday with the other daughter!
    What blessings they are. One of them holds on to me as if I were 103! (I’m 73 with arthritis and stenosis. But able to walk! Amen.

  7. Mary Ann on March 21, 2015 at 12:00

    I’m off to play right now!

  8. Kimber on March 19, 2015 at 16:22

    I’m trying to decide what constitutes “play” for me. Certainly I enjoy moments of leisure every day in the stage of life I’m in. I read for entertainment, watch TV and movies, occasionally play computer games or do puzzles, and I entertain my cat. But are any of these really play? I think of times of play for me as being when I’m making Lego constructions with my nephew or playing a table game or enjoying a visit to Disneyland. For me to truly be playing, I need to have everything else removed from my conscious mind. I need to be fully in the moment of enthusiastically enjoying some activity. I’ve been to Disneyland with my husband and it didn’t seem like play because I couldn’t be free to be silly. Then I’ve been there with a female friend when we just went crazy silly, and it was one of the most fun times I remember in recent years. So… I think true play also depends upon the circumstances, surroundings, and companions. Yes, I can play alone—like when playing a computer game. But true “fun” happens at times like going on rides and screaming with my wonderfully enthusiastic girlfriend Janna. So back to the question… Did I really play today? I’m not sure. But I did take my mind occasionally from the routine concerns of the day, and that counts for something.

  9. Karen on March 18, 2015 at 13:49

    I have really been struggling with this idea of “play” this week. What does that mean to me as an adult? I like to play little puzzle games on my phone…does that count? Is it more outdoors-y, like riding my bike? A while ago, I was using crayons for a retreat project and really enjoyed it. Should I explore more of that?

  10. Lissa Davis on March 18, 2015 at 10:41

    I went to the Home Show with my husband after church. We just strolled through the aisles and got new ideas.

  11. Lisa on March 18, 2015 at 08:12

    I don’t play. As I read this question, I can’t think of how I play in my life. Play is time spent doing something for the sheer joy of doing it – nothing to accomplish, nothing to learn….I think of dancing, playing with animals, playing games…..I do none of those things! I have known that play and creativity are two areas that are sorely missing from my life – and I need to be intentional about pursuing them as I seem to avoid them like the plague!

    • Nan on March 24, 2015 at 23:17

      . Yes! I encourage you to be intentional! You will be refreshed!

  12. Susan Dredge on March 17, 2015 at 17:13

    As an adult I find it difficult to define what I regard as play. Perhaps my “playtime” is when I make a cake, take time to enjoy my love of entering competitions. I am not someone who sews, knits, paints but perhaps my playtime is tending herbs in my garden, feeding and watching the birds, playing with my grandchildren (now that is real play, being a pirate or a super hero, taking them to the park). Whatever your “playtime” is – enjoy it and thank God for the blessing of play.

  13. Patricia on March 17, 2015 at 16:03

    I tried to play on Sunday and all came crashing down around me. So, today I called up my son, who has given me an open invitation to have lunch with him during his break. It’s warm so we ate outside in the sunshine and I had a relaxing 30 minute drive to and fro. It felt wonderful!

  14. Catleen on March 17, 2015 at 09:45

    It is so wonderful to read about play and how people play. When I was working, I seldom took time to play. Now, that I’m retired, I have a lot of time to “play”. I’ve found a lot of joy in cultivating relationships. Lunches, walks and exercise classes with friends old and new. Having the time to savor the comics pages and laugh out loud, read and play computer games for the fun of it while keeping my mind sharp. I’ve often reflected that these things often remind me of the way I “played” as a child (in those peirods when, as rhe oldest child, I was free of responsibilities for younger siblings).

  15. Muriel on March 17, 2015 at 03:15

    I have playtime with my grandsons who are 10 and 1 . With the 10 year old we play card games, badminton , go for walks , tell stories and with the younger I sing nursery rhymes with action and as he has just taken his first steps we walk around the house together and it is soo lovely to see the joy in his face.
    This has reminded me of my own childhood and my children’s childoods and it is great to hear my older grandson ask’did you do this a child, grandma’.

  16. NA on March 16, 2015 at 17:40

    I’d also like to say that I am finding the give and take of the comments in the community fostered by this blog approach to be really helpful and thought-provoking. It is as valuable to see how others have successfully handled similar issues in their lives as it is to see how others might be struggling with the same things I am. Community works. 🙂

  17. bob on March 16, 2015 at 17:38

    Inspired by yesterday I didn’t do the laundry when I got home. I sat and played for half an hour. It was very good. And the laundry has still been done.

  18. NA on March 16, 2015 at 17:35

    I am in a place currently of learning how to pay more appropriate attention to my own needs, and part of this has been working in time for things I enjoy. I don’t know why this would be a struggle at all because I feel so much better and am much more adept at the nuts and bolts of daily living when I fuel that creative side of me. It’s more like refilling my gas tank than anything else, but still it can be tricky to set that time aside. When I do, it feels great!

  19. Harold Pound on March 16, 2015 at 14:16

    My wife and I play quite often. we try to keep our time together fun. Yes, there are times when we need to be serious but once that time has passed we can play. I find that playing relaxes my stresses and I enjoy feeling the joy of playing.

  20. Beryl on March 16, 2015 at 12:21

    But I need someone to play WITH. This would include touch, and rolling around in the grass, or the sand, or the autumn leaf piles, or the snow. I believe Godde intends and blesses our play with one another. Without a playmate we miss the essential nutrients of touch and laughter and abandon. These nutrients can be supplied by simple affection with a child, or by playing with a baby, or course, if one is lucky, with a sexual partner.

    • laura ricard on March 18, 2015 at 08:34

      Did you use “Godde” intentionally? I like it–it seems gender neutral… You’ve given me something to think about. Thanks!

  21. Roderic Brawn on March 16, 2015 at 11:54

    Is playing a musical instrument, “playing?” All serious musicians spend almost daily time maintaining their craft. That means to go over skills one has attained and to restrengthen muscles that are needed to properly make, in my case, the trumpet, sound. I think playing could be in a sense gathering with a group of others, I suppose a jazz setting, is a perfect example of this, to make music. When we gather in whatever ensemble setting concert band, church choir, is that playing. I do like to walk. I enjoy playing with our dog who loves to fetch.

  22. shawn on March 16, 2015 at 10:07

    I “have” 4 birds, a rabbit and a cat….all rescues (don’t believe in the sale of animals) for whom I am a steward. I love caretaking them with fresh food and water everyday and keeping their cages (houses) spotless clean with plenty of toys etc. But the play is when I spend time with them singing, dancing, walking with and imitating THEM (rather than them imitating me….why would anyone want to imitate humans?)…..they are awesome fun and totally change my perspective on things…..I guess play is when you get out of your head and into your heart….Art can do that too….music….timelessness….

  23. Michael on March 16, 2015 at 06:51

    Playing is something that just comes naturally to me. I was surprised so many seem to struggle with it

  24. Susan on March 16, 2015 at 03:29

    oh dear! play is hard. And scheduled play is work, as far as I’m concerned – something else I should do because it is good for me. I’ve been aware for a while that my life is much too serious, that I need to have some fun. Going out with friends can certainly be play, hanging out with my niece and nephew (young adults) is a lot of fun, but playing by myself? I play stupid games on my phone and iPod, but I think of that as bad habit, a compulsion, but maybe the compulsion is telling me about my need to play. The gym is for fitness, walking the dog is fun but it is also a job that I have to do. I’m looking for a completely silly, pointless activity, a way to unplug from the relentless work of being good. What could it be for me?

    • Sarah Acland on March 16, 2015 at 07:51

      Blowing bubbles?
      Painting a mural?
      Learning cat’s cradle?
      Picking wildflowers?
      If it’s fun, it’s play. I do hope you find something.

      • NA on March 16, 2015 at 17:28

        Instead of walking the dog as a task, spend at least five minutes or so patting the dog. Go slowly and really take the time to feel the softness of the fur. Notice how happy the dog is with you there in that moment. Or maybe teach him or her a goofy new trick? Or just play fetch. Hey, some of the cheapest play therapy you can get is throwing a squeaky toy for a Labrador. They are naturally joy-filled dogs with a PhD in Play who are more than willing to share that wisdom with their people. 😉

        (Hmmm…Can you tell my dogs dictated this response?)

  25. Jane on March 15, 2015 at 20:41

    I set time aside to swim because I love it and i enjoy the friends I meet. I swim 2-3times aweek and feel invigorated after it.
    Today , after church, I went to aplay with a friend and we enjoyed seeing Twelfth Night in Windsor. It was very well done.

  26. Linda H. on March 15, 2015 at 20:22

    This is the first question that I did not answer immediately because the question of “what’s play?” rattled around in my head. The truth is that reading for pleasure, Words w/friends, being with friends, and out of doors with Brady, my lab, are all delightful rejuvenating activities. So, while they may not be “child’s play,” they certain refresh me so that I can look on the bright side.

  27. Jana Everett on March 15, 2015 at 20:06

    after church I went to the Botanic Garden, had a snack and walked around. took some pictures and looked at the flowers that have popped up.
    I felt relaxed. I had stepped outside the list of have to do’s.

  28. Verlinda on March 15, 2015 at 19:42

    Play is essential–when I play, I come back to work energized! It’s like a mini-Sabbath–and it’s a reminder that Jesus is Lord of all…including play.

    Especially in this Lenten season, we need reminders that play and a lightness of spirit are gifts of God.

  29. gwedhen nicholas on March 15, 2015 at 19:19

    This afternoon I played in an organ recital. My friends and family came to hear me. It made me feel happy and satisfied. It felt good.

  30. Christine white on March 15, 2015 at 18:53

    First I need to say Brother Luke your work shop on play when we were on retreat was awesome. I still have the collage on my frig. Because of that I try and play abit more. Need to work on it but I’m trying.

  31. Karen Fast on March 15, 2015 at 18:34

    I am surely glad I am doing this exercise earlier in the day than usual. A half hour of play sounds great. After I do some shopping for a housebound friend, I will bake some cookies for my grandchildren coming in 3 days. They love chocolate chip, and so do I.

  32. Tracy on March 15, 2015 at 18:33

    Only 1/2 hour…. awwww! I watched 2 films with 2 friends with lots of lovely food on the table – that play? I also got the Secret Garden grown up colouring in book to help me relax & it still requires concentration – but it’s fun. That play? Eek… I might be struggling myself here with what play is for a grown up!!! I imagine children playing sport, talking to each other in the school playground, in a sand pit or on contraptions & swings in a playground. ‘Go out and play’ our parents might say. I think it’s our hobbies – no deadlines or pressure – it’s fun but could still be useful.

  33. Sue on March 15, 2015 at 18:21

    We had a blizzard today, so I played in the snow – snow angels, snow people, snow fort! It was great!

  34. bob on March 15, 2015 at 18:17

    It feels like “ha ha!” And “hee hee” And slightly guilty I should be doing something proper…

    • NA on March 16, 2015 at 17:17

      Proper can be a relative term, no? 😉

  35. Winifred on March 15, 2015 at 16:57

    Such an interesting idea for adults to try to insert more play into their lives, and for it to be considered Godly to do so! Too often we think of the Glory of God to be more about more serious productivity and helping others, so this is an important affirmation of the “fun” God want us to have in our lives, too. Thank you –

  36. Susan Zimmerman on March 15, 2015 at 15:34

    …play so relaxing…today grilling and running…enjoying the sun with both

  37. Dee Dee on March 15, 2015 at 15:22

    Today I spent some time “hammocking” — as my children call it. Somehow they have turned something passive into a verb that sounds like an activity. Lately I’ve been trying to “hammock” for at least a few minutes as often as the weather is nice and I have the time. Today I made time and I made it playful by pushing off and swaying. The breeze was lovely. I fell asleep in the warm sun. I am so thankful for the encouragement to do this — to play — and the reminder that it is a wonderful way for us to spend time.

  38. Susan on March 15, 2015 at 14:27

    I have to have a dedicated time to play or else I won’t do it. it is usually something very simple and repetative and am surprised at the results.Play recharges my batteries.

  39. Diana on March 15, 2015 at 13:40

    I love to play…to laugh…to feel free…will always find time to do so…the other day I invited a 7 year old to play with me in the pool…we had a lovely time.

  40. Mark on March 15, 2015 at 13:02

    I don’t think I can do this one sorry

    • bob on March 15, 2015 at 19:40

      Hope you can by the end of Lent, Mark. Try 5 mins?

      • Janet on March 16, 2015 at 00:05

        Think of something that delights you Mark, and do it. Have fun.

    • NA on March 16, 2015 at 17:14

      Sometimes we fail to play because something or other deep inside us tells us we are not worthy of “fun” things or the joy that comes from playing, that we cannot be allowed to play because we have not finished our chores. Problem is, that list never does end, so when do we get to play? That is part of why play is so very essential — it really is part of our wholeness as humans.

      If I am recalling some of your earlier posts correctly, I think you have expressed that you are struggling with feelings of lack of deserving, seeing your own worth, and so on? But feelings are just that — feelings, not commands, not edicts set in stone for all time. Sometimes our feelings do not even reflect the truth but rather are nothing more than old defective tapes and messages that can, and need to, be replaced with something new that serves us better.

      Maybe you could try Bob’s suggestion and go for just five minutes? When I was working on nudging myself into playing more, I got some bubbles from the Dollar Store and messed around trying to get that ultimate largest bubble before it popped. I never could get the hang of that when I was a kid, but I did much better as an adult. Since my husband is not a person who plays readily either, he got a “Cars” whirligig that he could watch in the wind and enjoy.

      Yes, you most likely will feel silly, but who knows? You might decide you like playing. You ARE worth it, you know. 🙂

  41. Gail on March 15, 2015 at 12:26

    Play is joyous, but it happens usually once a week, not once a day

  42. Norm Anderson on March 15, 2015 at 12:15

    I “played” during coffee hour after church and it was GOOD!

  43. Charlotte Williams on March 15, 2015 at 12:07

    When I was a girl, many years ago, women wore hats to church. So it seems the right thing to do. To make it fun, I collect wonderful hats and wear them to church.

  44. Mary Ann on March 15, 2015 at 11:45

    Free play, going outside with no planned intent, and just enjoying what we find, seems to have disappeared from so many of our lives.
    I can remember as a child it was “I’m going outside to play” and joy it brought to me just to be. To walk, run, climb, dig or just to sit and see everything around me. To just take joy in myself, the world around me and everything and everyone I’d come in contact with that was childhood play.
    I feel we all need this so much today!

  45. Jose L. on March 15, 2015 at 10:49

    Hi Brother Luke! I’m happy to report that your fall workshop on play is still very much alive in me! Even before reading today’s SSJE Word, I’m proud to say that I’ve ALREADY spent at least 20 minutes singing and dancing in the shower to Jason Mraz, especially to ” The World As I See It.” My favorite line is “Every man makes a difference and every mother’s child is a saint.”

    While Jason attributes the song’s title to Einstein’s book, to me it sounds suspiciously Franciscan…(-;

  46. Martha Paine on March 15, 2015 at 10:49

    PLAYTIME..a joyfull word to hear as a child…..time to just have fun. Recess…a time to put down school books and go to the playground. Vacation…..a time to step off the work day Merry Go Round and change the daily routine for a while.
    Play has been an integral part of our lives and we have changed the concept as we have matured…..choosing to be with others or alone……refueling time can be what ever fills the tank…..high octane or regular. Let’s take time to play and enjoy God’s gift…..LIfe.

  47. Christopher Engle Barnhart on March 15, 2015 at 10:10

    I love to see earth moving equipment working. It seems that those who do this kind of work, never got out of the sandbox. Their work is their play.
    Our 2 year old grandson, loves to play with his little cars. He brings them when he comes to see us. I love to get down on the floor with him and play cars.
    We have swing sets in our backyard. It is always fun to swing.
    Another play activity is blowing bubble.
    These are all forms of play that adults and children can do together.

  48. Jane on March 15, 2015 at 10:09

    I guess the definition of play changes as we change over the years. I’ll have to think about what play is for me at this point in my life. I know I don’t consciously make a point of setting aside time for play each day. This is going to be an interesting week.

  49. Csv on March 15, 2015 at 09:46

    Play; I remember feeling joy and total contentment. I remember thinking about being too old to “play.” ( I was not too old) Now maybe is a good time to relearn play. There was a Twilight Zone episode on seniors being rejuvenated by play.

  50. Karen on March 15, 2015 at 09:17

    I played the other day in the snow with a young friend. He obviously had more energy and stamina than me, but that didn’t matter. It was fun! I wasn’t full of thought about work, planning the day, stopping at a certain time; we just played until we were tired and joy-filled.

  51. John on March 15, 2015 at 08:55

    I feel lighter, open to what the rest of the dy may bring…

  52. Louise Howlett on March 15, 2015 at 08:27

    I play Scrabble on my iPad and cards, trivia, or word games with my husband, but the kind of play that feels more transformative and awakening is wrestling on the floor with my dog or building legos or blocks with a child….I love when I have families come in for therapy and we play games together; games often make the whole family laugh and move beyond their anger and sadness into hope….

    • NA on March 16, 2015 at 16:50

      Play takes us out of left brain mode and over into right brain — though we must allow it to do so. We have a friend visiting and we played a game last night called “Big Idea” where you have to make up a new product and pitch it to the rest of the table to get folks to “invest” in it. The cards make interesting combos, meaning Goofiness always ensues and gets the endorphins going. 😉

  53. Jeff Lowry on March 15, 2015 at 08:12

    Play is something that has been la king in my life lately. I am not sure I could accurately define “play”.
    I am a caregiver. I wad
    raised to be serious and have a good work iethic. M y mom’ dog is almost ten and not really into too mu h active play. Doez watching tv ,reading a book for pleasure or walming count?. If not, then it has been since late November since I really took time to play …

    • bob on March 15, 2015 at 19:37

      Is it just for fun? It’s play. Giggle at it!

  54. Sarah Acland on March 15, 2015 at 08:11

    I probably play more than half an hour a day. I love the crossword puzzle, I read a lot and not necessarily things that stretch my mind, I play in my yard – You can only call it play when you only harvest a handful of tomatoes!
    Play is what I call play, I am the only one counting here. And yes, books by theologians could be play: I am about half way through the works of Borg and Crossan, and enjoying them very much.
    Today I shall go to a nearby natural forest, with a friend and some dogs, and we will let the dogs run till they are tired and then go for a hot drink and a sandwich in the tea shop. Definitely play!
    What an excellent question.

  55. Tom on March 15, 2015 at 07:36

    As I paused to think about what it is that I would do during my “half hour of play” today, I realized that I don’t know how to play. I work, I learn, I grow, but I don’t play. And that is sad. I know how to do other kinds of work, hobbies that always involve building things; I read to learn new skills, but not for sheer pleasure; I exercise to keep my body working better, but not to delight in creation. Now maybe I have the wrong idea of play as something that laughing, running, bright-eyed young children do. Maybe “play” is something different to me, something that puts me in the moment and in a different reality. This will be a challenging week for me as I learn how to play.

    • Janet on March 15, 2015 at 11:33

      No, I don’t think you have the wrong idea of play. Children run and laugh for the sheer joy of movement, feeling the wind in their hair, and the sun on their skin. It makes them laugh and their eyes bright. They play by themselves and with others. They also learn while they play, developing new skills, and discovering more about the world around them. They choose to play for the joy of it, not because they ‘should’ do it.
      Perhaps we adults should change our perception of the things we do, give ourselves time (again!) to enjoy our pastimes , to feel the wind in our hair and the sun on our skin. Play should not feel like work!

      • Janet on March 15, 2015 at 16:58

        I forgot to say- Play should be FUN!

    • Lisa on March 15, 2015 at 12:50

      Hi Tom,
      You are not alone in wondering how to tap into playing. As adults, we tend to put play into that frivolous, child-ISH place we have long-since grown out of. Play and our capacity for entertainment are child-LIKE: they continue to thrive inside where they wait for us to turn toward them.

      So here are some suggestions. In remembering your childhood, you will discover your own play, as well.
      If building things gives you joy, what about sitting down with some clay or plasticine and no agenda about being “creative” or “Art”. Then simply see what happens. I usually prefer silence for this, but I also have chosen to have music on to relax my brain away from its usual chatter.
      Another thought is finger painting, with the same set-up. And that leads me to face painting. What animal do you love or did you love as a child?
      Tigers, crocodiles, rabbits, frogs, monkeys, llamas? Turn yourself into one and move around the room as your chosen animal.
      And what about mask-making?
      The children’s section of a library or bookstore is also a resource for ideas.
      May your play be fruitful and multiply!

    • Maria on March 15, 2015 at 13:15

      Tom, I think if your hobbies give you pleasure and they’re not another source of pressure to get something done, I think of them as play.

      For me, having a dog to walk with is my way of having designated play time. He inevitably does something goofy 😉 I also consider getting together with people to share laughter and a meal, or coffee/tea as play. Also, a Spanish class I recently began is play for me. I’m learning in an environment with a fun group of people. I look forward to every class.

    • Tracy on March 15, 2015 at 18:18

      I think I understand & agree but wonder if your hobbies though still building, it didn’t matter – hobbies are pleasurable aren’t they?

  56. Barbara on March 15, 2015 at 07:18

    Play? What’s that?

  57. Marion on March 15, 2015 at 06:50

    Does bible study or reading the books written by theologians considered time in prayer

    • Tracy on March 15, 2015 at 18:19

      I thought the was more study than prayer.

      • gwedhen nicholas on March 15, 2015 at 19:14

        I know exactly what you mean.
        While I read I do it prayerfully so that I am communicating with God.

  58. Nancy W. Del Borgo on March 15, 2015 at 06:00

    I do choose to play, and often I have to stop first. Work is important, but it will always be there. Stop. Choose. Play.

Leave a Reply Cancel Reply