FAITH column 20 August 2017

For those believing life should be sensible, sane and sober, having fun can be fraught with dangerous dimensions; a dirty word that sullies the sacred to be decried.

In pursuit of a successful career, marriage and family, fun is often proscribed by a profound gravitas invoking a serious disposition and demeanour, simultaneously perceived as immature and juvenile.

Fun is the privilege of the young, a childish pastime of playing games and laughing while frolicking aimlessly to avoid concerns about the deeper and more meaningful philosophies of life.

Contextually, respectability and responsibility regard adulthood as the abandonment of fun to achieve maturity, without appreciating a fun lifestyle can be its own spiritual joy and reward.

As grown-ups, we jettison fun to be taken seriously; fun the reserve of professional comics, most of us having to content ourselves with more mundane routines of meeting the mortgage, paying the bills and putting food on the table, sacrificing fun for the sanctity of suburban bliss.

The quest for a sedate way of life, seemingly more socially acceptable than frivolous fun, obfuscates the understanding of fun and how intrinsic it can be to really earnest endeavours, a childlike indulgence to enhance every experience.

Sometimes we can take ourselves too seriously by not enjoying ourselves at all, manifesting a puritan mentality that contradicts fun as quintessential for our well-being. In a world with much pain and suffering, fun can seem trite and trivial, but Ecclesiastes 8:15 articulates a wiser faith: “So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink and enjoy life…”

Managing a serious mindset that’s maintained by mirth are not mutually exclusive but integral to ensuring we are not overwhelmed by the stresses we encounter in our daily lives. Psychologically, fun can be therapeutic, enabling us to not only work more pleasurably, but cope more favourably with all the anxieties in the increasingly confusing and complex world around us.

Fun is not innately about drifting nonchalantly through life or allocating time out for gratification, but can balance and ground us more contentedly, even inspire us.

This demands we comprehend fun as a precious human need as much as water, food, shelter and love to create a sanguine significance that’s more than just a symbol of forsaken youth. Deuteronomy 12:7 elucidates this clearly: “And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.”