Before Dan and I were married, we spent a day at a conference center in the Ochoco Mountains. He was finishing up a major electrical project and I cleaned the smaller of the two lodges.
We had lunch with the conference center directors, and then completed our assigned tasks. “That was fun,” I commented on the drive back to town.
And then I realized I say those three words often. After we deliver firewood to a single mom. After serving dinner to the homeless at Family Kitchen. After having people in our home. “That was fun!”
Dan and I seem to have a lot of fun. Fun to us is playing in God’s nature, and browsing through junk stores, and planting flowers and veggies, and serving people, and creating cool new things from old stuff.
I’ve often wondered if our ability to have fun is because Dan and I went through seasons of not-fun—of financial reversals, of watching a mom fall downward into Alzheimer’s, watching a beloved spouse slip away. And now that we’re living a not-taking-things-for-granted life, I wonder if that’s what makes most things fun.
My daughter recently loaned the new Annie F. Downs book to me, That Sounds Fun. “We have lost Eden,” Downs noted. “We have lost peace, we have lost the foundation upon which genuine fun can be built. And we have to go search for it.”
She wrote that if we find what sounds fun to us, then we’ll find what we’re truly looking for:
Maybe you will find it in the places where you are an amateur; maybe you will find it in love; or maybe you’ll find it in that hobby you just found or returned to.
After finishing Downs’ book, I happened to pick up Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, recommended by a friend. Gilbert encourages readers to set aside fears and set about creating:
It’s okay if your work is fun for you. It’s also okay if your work is healing for you, or fascinating for you, or if it’s maybe just a hobby that keeps you from going crazy.
When we find this work, this hobby, this creativity, then that’s Big Magic, claims Gilbert.
Do you hear common notes in the writings of these two women — fun and hobbies and creating?
The feeling of satisfaction, of joy and deep pleasure and surprise that’s generated from creating something—well, that’s fun.
I think it’s because God—who knows all the stars by name, who created juicy pineapple, and thundering waterfalls, and gorgeous sunsets, and the aroma of roses, who numbered the legs on centipedes and taught the geese to winter in the south—this God created us in His image.
Which makes us mini-creators.
We are most fulfilled and having fun when we’re operating in those attributes that are God’s attributes—with creativity, in service and love, and with the best interests of others in mind.
What’s keeping us from throwing pottery or building shower trucks so the homeless can have a hot shower? What’s holding us back from gardening or designing software applications? From creating imaginative lesson plans, workouts, or treatment plans? From knitting or baking, designing bridges, or designing wedding gowns?
Gilbert finishes her book with these simple words of advice:
Do whatever brings you to life. … Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.