Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Little Oasis

After the Rodin Museum on Sunday we went for a walk through Paris, stopped for crêpes from a local vendor, and then found a small park in the middle of the city to relax and play. It's funny how nice and restful it was to step across a fence into the tiny grassy park that was no bigger than the endzone of a football field. Cars were still buzzing around beyond the fence, people were busy about their day, buildings and airplanes and monuments could be seen around us, but we felt like we'd escaped it all in our little oasis.

Escape and play are two concepts that I'm rediscovering. I've always been a competitor, I love sports and games where I get to compete. And I've always had an itch for activity. I can't sit still very long, and being locked indoors drives me crazy. But I don't know how much in my adult life I have embraced playing, escaping, relaxing, doodling, for no intended purpose. If you look at my personal computer you'll discover that there are no game applications anywhere to be found. I have word processors, calculators, movie programs, music programs, photo software, data organizers, file converters, and more... all very practical apps with a specific goal in mind for each usage. I've only recently begun to again read fiction novels. I find it difficult to convince myself to do anything that I can't trace back to a definite life, work, or personal goal (with a few exceptions). I'm not boring, I think most people would say I'm fairly fun to be around, but my mind is constantly whirring and if I can't rationalize what I'm doing or about to do with some sort of achievement, I just don't do it.

Last night before going to sleep I picked up a novel I'm reading and launched into an international story of some people taken as long-term prisoners/hostages. One member of the group has some a military background, and the book shares his thoughts as he considers how to relate to his fellow captors. He knows that he must talk with the others, make them laugh, play simple mind games, talk about anything other than where they are. If they don't destress and entertain their minds, they will all go crazy and or straight into depression that makes them give up on their situation, their life, their purpose. By letting their minds escape and play, they stay alive, fresh, and able to cope.

I wrote sometime ago about viewing life and this world as a giant playground. I believe there's a lot of truth to that, but I struggle to accept it. I also believe that a lot of what happens in this world is hard, harsh, and ugly. It still frustrates me to see people playing, and not getting things done. But if we refuse to play, we will see ourselves spiral down into monotonous, meaningless despair. If we don't allow ourselves escape, we demand to be like machines, a task we're not cut out for. I can either decide that I don't have to have a specific purpose for everything I do, or I can realize that in playing I am keeping myself alive, sharp, fresh, but I must play. I must escape the noise sometime. I must find joy in every place I can.

Aren't children a blessing? There's so much we can learn from them!

The race was tight on Sunday, it's competitors fierce.
It came down to this photo finish, which has Sawyer winning by a nose!

He may have been born and Africa and is being raised in Europe,
but this kid has some Kentucky in him too.
He clearly knows how to race a horse!

1 comment:

Kevin Eby said...

We are all prisoners of this war and need to constantly remind ourselves of the masterpiece He has made in us.

Sometimes an Oasis is a refreshing reminder that like He who is in us, so are we.