Building a Playground

On Saturday afternoon, the temperature in the Twin Cities hit a hundred degrees, unheard of in Minnesota this early in the summer. Reasonable people turned on their air-conditioners and stayed inside. What was I doing? Helping to build a playground at a transitional housing facility for women and children in need of shelter. I’m 70 years old. I did this kind of labor for a decade when I was a much younger man, wanting to experience all I could in order to be a writer, pursuing a different kind of education than I believed college would offer me. I’m 70 years old now, and I admit, the day took its toll. Afterward, I spent half an hour under a hot shower to get my muscles uncramped, then took some ibuprofen and threw down a couple of gin and tonics to help ease the pain. But ask me if I’d do it again, and I’d have to admit I would. Because it wasn’t just the pain I felt when I’d finished. It was the sense that I’d been a part of something that would make the world just a little bit better for everyone. And isn’t that what we’re here for?

Kent on the playground

4 thoughts on “Building a Playground”

  1. “It was the sense that I’d been a part of something that would make the world just a little bit better for everyone. And isn’t that what we’re here for?”

    Imagine if everyone thought that way (and acted on it)!

  2. I deeply admire a man who gets his hands dirty. The little ones who will play here will likely never know that a bestselling author helped build the place where they can feel safe and have fun at the same time. The kingdom of God is not simply some abstraction that we aspire toward. It is also here and now, and we build it in small ways, sometimes shovelful by shovelful of dirt.

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