As I walked around Walmart gathering hotdogs, chocolate, and marshmallows for our one-night camping expedition, I felt light at heart--so happy at the prospect of our camping trip that I surprised myself.
I really like camping. I had forgotten how much I like camping until this afternoon. The last time we went camping was seven years ago, when we were newlyweds and had no child yet.
It's a shame that we let the pressures of everyday life prevent us from doing the simple things that bring us such joy. We tell ourselves that it's impossible to camp, or play boardgames, or sing with a chorus, or play softball, or whatever it is that makes us joyful. But we're succumbing to false impressions when we think that that we don't have time, or that we are too tired, or that we have too many "important" things to do.
I've told myself these falsehoods about recreation plenty of times. A few years back, I was struggling with my responsibilities as a young mother with a traveling husband and a dissertation to finish. I went to visit my parents in another state. We enjoyed playing boardgames every night, as we usually do when we go to their house. At one point, I remarked to my dad that I wished I had time to play boardgames at our own home back in Ohio. He gave me a brief, concerned look and said: "You have to make time." Then we went back to our jovial efforts to triumph at our game of the night.
His look of concern stuck with me, as did the truth of his words. I had worked myself to the bone, grinding myself down with what I told myself was "necessity." In actuality, the only necessity was taking care of my daughter. Everything else was negotiable. I realized that I needed to give myself some playtime, and open the door to let joy in.
I play boardgames at least once a month these days, and aim to play more frequently. Now we're going camping. When I camp, I enjoy my family and friends, the crackling fire, fresh air, beautiful trees, and my memories of childhood camping trips. I can't wait!
Dance and game are frivolous, unimportant down here; for down here is not their natural place. Here, they are a moment's rest from the life we are placed here to live. But in this world everything is upside down. That which, if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest that which in a better country is the End of Ends. Joy is the serious business of Heaven.