Holy Uselessness

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

is what spiritual writer Margaret Gunther says we need more of! Times when we

are not trying to produce anything, or achieve, not problem-solving or planning. But

we are simply creating space in the midst of a day or an hour or a month. It might be something like play -- or just sitting and watching the world go by. Or just a time of taking things lightly.

I myself can hardly cope with the task of NOT-doing, not achieving, goofing off,

wasting time. It is uncomfortable to see HOW much I desire “getting there”,

accomplishing, demonstrating my worthiness and productivity. And, by golly, I

want everybody else to have their nose to the grindstone too!

UU minister, Sandra Fees asks us “How much are you playing? Are you bringing a

playful spirit to your life? “ “Deep play” she writes, “invites us to give up control,

give up certainty, and give up our preconceived ideas and rules. “ Oh my… no

wonder I find it so hard!

Playing has no exterior purpose. It exists for it’s own sake. Watch dogs or children

in a park when the adults aren’t organizing them. They become silly, run just to run,

leap, fall down, dig in the dirt. I have had to learn over and over with my own

grandchildren that they are most interested in figuring out their own games, and

make believe activities. I often arrive with a list of “things we can do” – and they

often smile politely and say something to the effect of “maybe later”, right now let’s

just play!

What could it hurt if we, too, became more playful in our jobs, with our partner, in

the Boardroom, at school, in the kitchen? Let’s give it a try! I’d love to hear how and

when and where you play this week! Maybe we can all take a lesson from my Granddaughter...


I am walking with my Granddaughter

who has discovered a weed

with seedpods that burst

with the slightest touch.

“Watch!” she calls to me.

She is fascinated to search

for the little hidden pods

and responds with glee each time

she finds one.

I am looking at my watch.

Seeds burst forth.

Sun catches the edges of Autumn leaves.

A caterpillar crosses the sidewalk.

Green trees turn to gold.

My Granddaughter is filled with amazement.

And I am looking at my watch.

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