Every day the same neighborhood kids go outside to play on the side yard where all the townhomes face each other. It’s just a sidewalk with green grass on each side of it and the kids use their wild imaginations to come up with rocket blast-offs, races, tag, and ball games. A group of the same 7 kids ranging from 2-7 years of age all running around while one parent is assigned to watch. I can hear their laughter, their screams, their cries when one falls and gets hurt. The simplicity of it all though is something so familiar to me.
What a joy it was for me, as I played outside. Many days were spent playing with Pokemon figures in mud piles, building up those mud castles, attempting to trap rabbits out on the side yard, setting up the Pocahontas tent in the front yard and creating the fort that only members were allowed to enter. Hide and seek was a daily game, running around hiding in every secret crevice you could find in the complex. With the help of the walkie talkies, I would receive hints as to where the other team was hiding. If someone gave up, it was an easy way of letting them know. “Ollieollieoxenfree” was the term we used. Yes, nothing was better than those simple days where real life never seemed to catch up.
Not only do I remember living that out for myself, but I remember watching, being that “parent” when my little brother would go play with the neighborhood kids. They would play sword fights, Jedi fights, combat; you name it, they did it. I would just smile and laugh at the conversations they would have together. The sun would glisten on their shiny hair and would brown their skin as summer approached. Their hands were always dirty and grimy. When you looked closely after a day of play, you could see the dirt underneath their fingernails and in between their toes. Dark marks would be smudged onto their faces and the dreaded, “Do we have tooo?” would come out of their mouths as I told them to go wash up. What a joy it was though to watch them play and enjoy life. For a few moments, I would forget about my teenage responsibilities.
Play time is an easy way to relax and forget. So what is my play time? How do I relax now as an adult to escape the daily responsibilities and strifes? Daily, at work, I leave my phone behind to walk around the building next door for 20 minutes. Either I’m left to my own thoughts or I pray and talk to God. It’s my escape. It’s my time to refocus and get back in there. After work, it’s either talking with my coworkers, family, and friends over Snapchat or reading a good book. Keeping all these things in mind (and a few other rare things I get to experience to escape), I am reminded that God gives me opportunities to be the “kid playing in the side yard”. He blesses me with opportunities that most in the world do not receive. He blesses me with things that I don’t normally recognize or acknowledge. So tonight, I want to thank God for those blessings, for the time to rest and the time to speak with him. Thank You God for allowing Your child to be…a child.