My daughter calls the playground a “pray-ground.” She is three and a half so for her this is a just a casual mispronunciation. But it's got me thinking about my own days on the school playground. I'm not sure I was praying exactly, but I was definitely dreaming big dreams.
I dreamed I was going to be a famous actress (not just an actress, but a famous actress), a gypsy, or even a member of The Bangles. I dreamed of my first kiss and having my first boyfriend, of a big fancy mansion, a limousine, and glamorous parties. I wished for friendships and prayed that people would like me, even love me. I prayed as I played and dreamed possible dreams that I would be told later were simply impossible.
This pray-ground my daughter takes me to makes me think about what I've lost in adulthood. How rare it is that we play in prayer, dreaming big and praying for those dreams to come true with real hope and desire. How rationality has won over and we no longer sit on the swing, kicking our legs up high while we dip our heads back to gaze at the infinite sky. How those moments when we flipped off the swing after dreaming up some amazing life scheme allowed us to leap with ease and without injury. We were carefree and boundless.
As rational adults we only allow ourselves small playful moments before we’re suddenly aware of our setting again, worrying that someone might be watching those gleeful, carefree moments and judging us for letting our guard slip. We aren't getting lost in our imaginations or drumming up ideas with our imaginary posse of friends anymore. Instead we are sharing our would-be smiling lives on Facebook and fantasizing about someone else's picture perfect profile.
It might be time to take a trip to the pray-ground and let loose to play. See if those old prayers and desires wash over you again as you soar through the sky on the swings. And maybe, just maybe… you’ll even chance a back flip off the swing.