Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Play as Prayer -- A Reflection by Pastor Kathy

I took a week of vacation between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and a few days beyond.  My husband, Steve, and I are movie buffs so we saw a movie every day, sometimes two. We saw some fabulous movies, great stories. Stories for me are always sources for theological reflection, another form of prayer. I learned from a colleague the importance of slipping off to the movies. She would say, with all seriousness, “I have to pay a pastoral call on Tom Cruise,” and off she’d go, with no regrets, to stop for a while and let her spirit play. My spirit played between Christmas and the New Year!  We ate at over a dozen different restaurants—so fun because there are limited choices on our beautiful island. We gathered with our grown children and laughed over long meals and board games. We talked about movies and performances, I reconnected with my “roots” in theater, and I came back to work lighter, happier, with more energy.  

My family always watches the credits on each movie to the very end. We read as many names and job titles as we can. The number of people that it takes to make a movie is astonishing. When I was in my early twenties, I tested (along with 2,800 other people) for one of 6 intern positions with the Director’s Guild of America. I was one of a lucky 72 who got an interview. At that time, it was an unbelievable dream. I was not one of the 6 who was chosen, but I had the joy of imagining the possibilities, wondering what my life would have been like as a DGA trainee. I always watch for that job title at the end of films and that moment is filled with gratitude for dreams, and memories, and the present work that I love and could never have imagined then. I see the rich breadth of my life, the ways Spirit has led my choices—how unimagined and grace-filled this journey has been. I am profoundly grateful for the beautiful shifts and kaleidoscopic changes. When I take time to play, my prayer life changes, my blood pressure goes back down to normal, and I sleep better.

It’s a reminder to me to choose some days for retreat and line them through on my calendar and say, “I have another commitment that day” in busy seasons. I think is was Francis de Sales who said that we must pray 30 minutes every day, but when we are very busy, we must pray an hour.

~ Pastor Kathy


  1. I find that in order to be effective at any work God calls me to do in the world, I need to let go of it for a while. Then all the good ideas can find me. ~ Theresa

  2. From Nancy Vanderpool: Thinking about this concept has been helpful. First what is play for me? It is events, actions, people that give me gentle joy and balance in my life. It is being deeply immersed in a book, walking in and almost always seeing the environment around me, listening to the live symphony and listening to, on the way to town music cds from places we have travelled, interacting and playing with grand children, joining friends around the dinner table, travelling with Dick and reading the Sunday paper in the sun. All of this activity is balancing and perspective giving.

    Secondly, what is prayer. At first I thought I didn't take time to pray. Then, I discovered that my mind is frequently in prayer, at hard problem solving times and times of joy and gratitude. My hands may be doing something else but my attention and mind is engaged in prayer. Recently I grappled with a difficult problem for weeks, then after church I received an unexpected solution from someone else. What a joy and prayer of gratitude! Experiencing some of this prayer/play I found my heart could see more good in some people who are frequently on my mind/in my prayers and gave me insights about how to interact with those persons.

    Nancy Vanderpool