PLAY (Five Minute Friday)

Linking up again with the wonderful blogging community at where this week’s prompt for 5 minutes of free writing is ‘Play’.

What’s the difference between work and play?

I was awake really early this morning, properly awake, so I spent the first hour or two in the cool shade of the morning, planting up annuals and dotting them around my garden to provide some extra pops of colour while my sprouting summer bulbs have yet to flower.

I felt light and happy and totally absorbed.

Isn’t that a description of what play feels like? And yet, in my head, I’m more likely to file gardening under ‘work’ than ‘play’, even though it’s so enjoyable and I get so much satisfaction from it. But it feels more like play – it’s as if I’m a child colouring in the black and white outlines of a page to turn it into a rainbow of a space over and over again, each time slightly different.

Sometimes in my job I get the same sense of satisfaction and creativity from solving a problem for a patient. Sometimes we forge close bonds from working closely together over quite a period of time and we can end up sharing laughter as much as agony. But I absolutely wouldn’t consider this to be play.

Or am I wrong to think of work and play as two completely separate entities? In child development theories, play is seen as a child’s work.

When I’m in my garden, I feel like I get a tiny taste of what creation must be like for God, the sheer delight of it. No wonder He saw at the end of each period that ‘it was good’. In C.S. Lewis’s ‘The Magician’s Nephew’, Aslan sings Narnia into being with the same playfulness and purpose. Gerard Manley Hopkins describes Christian living in this way:

‘For Christ plays in ten thousand places,

Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his

To the Father through the features of men’s faces.’

Perhaps play is more an attitude of heart, a willingness to look for the joy in each moment and each activity, to be willing to reflect Christ like light dancing on ripples in whatever we’re doing.




4 thoughts on “PLAY (Five Minute Friday)

  1. I love these musings on work and play! Yes, the lines are blurred at times. I like how you defined “play” as a creative process. I don’t think of myself as a particularly playful person, but I am very creative… and when I create things I feel reinvigorated. Maybe I am playful, after all! Your post has changed my perspective. Thank you! P.S. Love the flowers. There are some spectacular hues of pink there!
    – Ruth (Visiting from FMF #71)


  2. Why is it we are afraid to combine work and play? For you (and me), gardening can be a form of play, and yet we call it work. Is it because we are told we need to be serious and get to work? Or that we must work before we play? Life would be more fun if we combined the two.


    • You’re so right, Theresa, that combining the two is the better way. I do think some gardening tasks are more worklike – lawnmowing, cleaning the patio, sweeping up leaves all feel like outdoor housework to me. But my husband lays claim to most of these and I think he gets more of a sense of purpose from them. Perhaps it’s balancing that purpose with play, which is purposeful in itself, is what matters?


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