pool-917604_640The huge power ball jackpot is making news and capturing folks who don’t usually “play” (yes, I confess). The lotto tagline suggests at least two other important messages  lighthearted joy is integral to contentment” and “you have to begin”. After buying my five tickets, I found myself experiencing the “play” of lottery: dreaming.

Yesterday morning I took three sheets of paper titled “Charity”, “Me and My Family”, and “Extended” and played with thoughts of what I could give and have in my life. As I felt the growing excitement and pleasure of being able to make a difference on a larger scale, I realized that for me, “play” is not only about the experience of joy, it is about making a difference-giving others joy, giving others a chance at a better life.

This fun activity provided focus: if money were no object, these would be my priorities and values. The question immediately emerged: “if these are your priorities and values, why wait for the unlikely outcome of winning the lottery to begin?”. While I may not be able to quickly and easily give so much, I can give some, consistently and steadily.  If we stay stuck waiting for an easy way to reach our goals and to make our lives as we want them to be, if we don’t begin, the experience of play becomes resentment.

Being a parent is especially hard when we get stuck on the idea “this should be easier”, not understanding that it is what it is: sometimes a lot of fun, sometimes a lot of work, but always what we put into it. We pour into our children all of the love, patience, understanding so they can draw on it in the future. This is hard work, making our dreams a real life.  It is fun to dream, but then we must act. Again and again. Even when it’s not fun. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, there are those moments of pure joy and purpose.