Free to Run and Play

This poem was inspired by an impromptu outing in Tel Aviv, Israel. One evening, the kids and I walked from our apartment down the noisy street, through parking lots, and finding our way to Metzizim Beach. With no agenda, we leaned over Tel Aviv Port to feel the water splash up the side of the wall and onto our faces.

Then we walked down to the protected cove, waded in green mossed shallows, and stayed on through til sunset. I sat on the sand and tried to warm myself with my sweater while the kids bounded through shimmering surf.

“Don’t get your shorts wet!” I shouted over the waves. Of course, they did.

There weren’t supposed to be any shells. Of course, they found plenty.

Across the little cove was a peninsula with rocks and a post flying the Israeli flag. I reflected how safe we felt here in a country with a slight reputation for being quite the opposite.

The kids embraced the chilly night like a new friend, which she was. As they splashed and sanded themselves, I surrendered motherly control of clothing and wetness to the wind. Therein, I felt the sharpest pang of delight.

Run and Play, Dear Life

// If you could do anything, be anything,

What would you do? Who would you be?

A mathematician?

A painter of portraits?

A belly dancer?

A shaper of ceramics?

A tightrope walker!

An instiller of dreams into the minds of children, fully awake.

You could play with this idea as I do.

You could sift it through your fingers like sand,

Beg questions from the endless draught of ocean,

Waves breaking round your ankles,

But all you see are the shells where none should be.

You hold them delicately in your palm,

A crown of flowers adorns your head,

You, on hand and knees, shape sand as you and the idea play.

There is no need to decide, if ever.

No matter, you are secure in love.

It will always be standing here, posted into rocks,

Waving the colors of your truest country.


Because you God have always stood up for me, I’m free to run and play. I hold on to you for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post. Psalm 63:8 MSG

I’m writing this post with the Five Minute Friday community. This week our one-word writing prompt in five minutes or less was PLAY. (// indicates the start and stop of five minutes.)

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July 7, 2017
  • Shauna Blaak

    Oh, my goodness… breathtaking! I close my eyes and can almost smell the salt air. You have such a gift for painting pictures, my friend. Thank you for taking us with you.

    And Thank You, Father, for childlike wonder. ♥♥♥ “Because you God have always stood up for me, I’m free to run and play. I hold on to you for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post.”

  • This is delicious! Your words are a blessing. Keep writing, sister!

  • “All you see are the shells where none should be.” <3 Happy, hopeful, honest. I love this poem, your heart, and that line. <3 Have a blessed week, amiga.

  • I love the verse you included. I love tying scripture into learning truths.

  • I know! Ridiculoso! 😉

  • Mary Hood

    Thank you! Takes all the work right out of it! How freeing, just how play should be!

  • Tara Ulrich

    Oh my goodness! I loved the imagery in this post. I felt like I was right there on the beach with you friend. Gorgeous! I’m in the 5 spot this week.

  • Leigh Lusito

    Beautiful! How I remember the peace I felt in israel almost twenty years ago when I visited. Yes, there there can be peace and freedom in play no matter what place. Stopping by from FMF. Blessings to you and your family.

    • Hi, Leigh, how exciting that you got to go there too! It’s such a place of peace and yet confusion. Thank you for coming by to say HI!

  • Marie

    I see your ENFPness coming out here. 🙂

    I read somewhere long ago that children need both play and safety. They need to be able to explore but they also need to know that Mom or Dad is right there, ready to hold them close if it all gets to be too much. I think God is like that. He puts up boundaries to keep us from harm but tell us to go nuts within them.

    • Thanks, Marie:). You pegged me. I love your analogy of God. He does put up good boundaries for us. Your perspective always gives me food for thought.