Here is an excerpt from Play to God: rediscover childlike joy. It comes from the “In the Metaphor” section in which I look at the game as a message about life. The illustration is by Alena Litvinka from Belarus.
On a deep, psychological level, every child needs to be known and recognized by the parent. Remember how it stung when your mother accidentally called you by your brother’s name? Our name and our identity matter. If we didn’t receive this parental knowing from our natural parents, our wound gapes in need of healing.
Similarly, every human needs to feel known and recognized by God. Those of us who have lost our faith often say we think God doesn’t hear or know us any more. We can use “Guess who?” in our imaginations to reconnect with God and feel her love. God wants us to use the imaginations she gave us, not only in our creative problem-solving in the world but in our prayer connection with her. Saint Joan of Arc said to her inquisitor, “How else would God speak to me, if not through my imagination?” By neglecting our imaginations, we shut ourselves off from God. Cultivating imaginative play opens a door to the divine.