Thursday, 26 May 2022

G Guest Editorials

Celebrate Lit: Life's Playground

By Marguerite Gray

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As an adult, play has taken on a different form than as a child. Would you agree? I miss the childhood freedom of make believe. Today, I associate play with fun, amusement, and joy. In the Bible, Paul encourages people to be joyful. A biblical definition of joy says joy is a feeling of good pleasure and happiness that arises from Jesus rather than the circumstances.

Play conjures images of delight as children run in a park or on a field, share games and wins, or hide and seek. Laughter, glee, smiles. Friends, siblings, schoolmates. Playing requires innocence, a willingness to suspend reality. Have adults forgotten how to enjoy a moment of play? I haven’t, not quite.

Travel brings many opportunities of play. The new scenery becomes a playground with unique games and rules. The destination might be unlike anything one is used to at home. When I was a child, my family traveled all over Europe. A huge playground for three little girls at a time when security and rules at famous sites were lax or non-existant (with parental supervision, of course.) We played “house” in the ruins of Pompeii. Our imaginations ran free as we decided which wall less rooms would serve as a kitchen, bedrooms, and living room. Our parents explained about what had happened with Mt. Vesuvius and how the city was covered in hot lava. We heard, yet our imaginations soared away from the dark secrets to a place of joy and play.

In the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy, the three of us joined hands and ran up and down the hills. Camaraderie won over a solitary walk through the gardens. Play often demands the spirited company of others. The different perspectives add a layer of delight that a solitary person cannot experience. Companionship does have its advantages, though I crave my time alone too.  

Sherwood Forest offered a place where we ran from tree to tree with energy that our parents lacked. Robin Hood and Little John left their marks in the forest and on the paths. Energized to conquer the bad sheriff and his evil men, we created our own band of merry girls to defeat the bad men. Sometimes play and joy demand an energy reserve from deep within to see the possibility.

Play is not always planned. When faced with a maze at Hampton Court in England, we looked at our parents for support and bravely accepted the spontaneity of the unplanned adventure. We eased our way through the metal bars with no way out, only a way forward. No map, no escape plan. We joyfully wound our way to the center accepting the wrong turns along the way. In the end, we won the game and our time of play left us laughing and talking all at once.

As a writer, I like to consider my blank pages as a playground where I can use my imagination with my characters forming a level of camaraderie. My energy travels with them as their spontaneity changes my direction and plans for them.

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11

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Marguerite Martin Gray is the author of Hold Me Close, Surround Me, and Bring Me Near– Revolutionary Faith Books One, Two and Three. Besides researching her historical novels, she enjoys studying history and writing fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Marguerite is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Abilene Writers Guild, Daughters of the American Revolution, South Carolina Historical Society, and Preservation Society of Charleston. She currently lives in North Louisiana with her husband and Cleo, her cat. Her two adult children keep her up to date and young.

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