Sometimes I say to my kids, That’s a tool not a toy, treat it with respect. But what if I’m wrong about that? What if they’re all toys?
I’ve been thinking about this lately while preparing for questions about Web of Angels that may come up at readings. The intelligent questions are a pleasure to answer, the ignorant ones an opportunity for illumination, but what about attacks in the guise of a question? Any writer can encounter those even with subjects that seem completely innocuous because the human capacity to find an axe to grind is endless.
And my subject is hardly innocuous. Preparing the answers is the easy part. Finding equanimity in thinking about it is a lot harder. Meditating about this, I began to see potential attackers as hurt children. And when I took that image further, I began to see us all as children, small or big.
What if all the money, prizes, electronics and tools are toys? What if all the clothes are dress-up? What if we are all just big kids, fighting over our toys, scared that we’re getting less than the other kid, grabbing, squabbling, tired out by too much of too much, carried away by enthusiasm, sometimes kindly sharing, sometimes viciously jealous or mean? It would explain a lot.
Kids have the most fun with simple toys and basic supplies–scissors, paper, markers, cardboard. But they all want the glitzy noise-making toys they see on TV or in the store or at a friend’s house. So I understand that I can’t help being envious of someone who’s gotten a bigger advance or a shiny prize that I haven’t. You can’t convince a kid that her little home-made cloth mouse is as good as the store bought rocking elephant as big as a room. It’s human nature.
But here’s the thing–life seems a lot less serious if we’re all just here to play. I’m not quite there yet. Playing isn’t my best thing; I was raised in an extremely serious manner. And yet I can see the creative freedom and joy in my children when they’re completely absorbed in play, whether it’s a game with stuffies or building a structure or blasting off with a sewing machine or writing a story.
I want that–I want life as my best friend. Play with me.