Today our fabulous grandson Gabriel came to play while his sister was at a party. He particularly loves imaginative play, so after a spell playing and singing happily by himself he decided it was time for me to join in. That entailed me being variously Alf, Ted, Pat and a slightly random visiting pig to Greendale. Parents of small children will recognise the characters. It is essential of course that I use different voices for all of them. At other times I have been needed to crawl on the floor lining cars for a race or creating a duplo house.

It is a scene of course which is replicated across the country. For me it is an absolute joy, as is snuggling with a book or writing a joint story with his sister Faith. I’m profoundly aware of the privilege it is: many people would love to have children or grandchildren to play with and I am deeply grateful.

Today however I was struck by something else. Whilst I love the opportunity to recapture childhood creativity, really the joy lies in simply being with him. Sometimes as I watch him my heart swells with love without either of us doing anything.

Sometimes I’m too tired, stressed or distracted to ‘do’ anything with God. Sometimes I don’t have any words. Perhaps in those times were I simply to play, to rediscover that little girl within, God might be in the midst of that just as much as when I am doing my best to work for him. And his heart too might swell with love even when I’m doing nothing at all, simply because I’m his.

And if it is true for me, it most certainly is true for you.

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