Saturday, January 5, 2013

The price of fun

My eleven-year-old son is a healthy, joyful and fun-loving boy. I picked him up from school one day and instead of greeting me with his "Hi mama!", he just plopped down on the passenger seat of my car and pouted. "I have a bruise on my shin. I get hurt every day at the playground," he said. Oh boy. I smiled thinking, don't we all. That's the price of fun.

What my eleven-year-old doesn't know yet is that the playground is a dress rehearsal for grown-up life. We will get hurt. It's the price of life. Getting hurt is incidental to living. How we deal what hurts us is what makes the difference between a painful life and a thriving life. Resilience is key.

Many of us try to protect ourselves from the pains of life to the extent that life loses it's playfulness and amusement. We also scare others away. We put on arrogance, distrust, close-mindedness, defensiveness and fear before heading out into our playgrounds. We push people away, build gaps of doubt, stay in old thoughts, reject new ideas and miss the chance at enjoying life, enjoying others and enjoying life with others. Often, the way we survive is the very thing that takes the joy of life away from us.

Being overly protective does not guarantee that we will not be hurt, but it will keep us from being touched by love and experiencing life fully. Avoiding conflict and pain comes at the expense of relationship with others. Keeping ourselves guarded can swirl us into loneliness, anxiety and depression.

Today is a good day to let go of the attitudes that keep us from breathing life, loving, learning, giving of ourselves, playing and having fun. We will get hurt...that's the price of's the price of life, but the challenge today is to enjoy life and let others enjoy it with us.

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