Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. The theme for June is Play. This month’s post is offered by Becky Halat.
Summer—it’s when we have fun in the sun. Our theme for June is Play, and it can’t be mere coincidence that beach balls and baseballs rotate like our playground Earth moves. We love the sun, its energy, and its radiation. It’s the source of life, and we appreciate summer like the green plants that convert the sun into life.
Especially in Minnesota, warm weather gives us the urge to get out and play, since we know that our time in the sun is limited at this high a latitude. Summer 2021 is a double-whammy, with vaccinations up and Covid-19 infections down. We play, with the solemn knowledge that not everyone made it here.
Play—it’s not just for children. Adults need it, too! It’s an important developmental activity that helps kids learn and grow. Eventually, children outgrow play to become adults.
But the benefits of play extend into adulthood. Over the course of the last year, I’ve taken the time away from others to develop some adult play habits, such as yoga and painting. I want to keep these habits, but I can already feel them slipping away as my weekends fill with other priorities. But unless we prioritize play, we lose a healthier version of ourselves. Play is spiritual practice.
June is also about PRIDE, which shows us that play is a political act, with the LGBTQ+ community out in the sun. Proclaiming their right to be, while remembering those who suffered to make this a better day.
Indeed, summer gets us out in the streets so that we can reclaim our communities. PRIDE’s spirit stems from the Stonewall Riot, when gay New Yorkers refused to take police harassment. This history is particularly resonant here in Minnesota, one year after global demonstrations following George Floyd’s murder at the hand of Minneapolis police. There’s still so much more to do.
So, play—because it’s serious work.
— Becky Halat
Member, UUCM Board of Trustees