Discover - SarahSometimes we just have fun. Not that having fun isn’t therapeutic. Without a doubt it is. So sometimes our most serious therapeutic intent is just to have fun. Well, fun with a purpose, but maybe not what you imagined.

It all started with a visit to the Oxnard Rescue Mission thrift store. My art partner and I were hunting for recycled cloth napkins. There were plenty of old tablecloths. But napkins? Nada. Zip. Zilch. Finally we found an off white tablecloth that could be made into napkins neatly folded on a hanger…without a price tag. Lee mused with a bit of discouragement, “They won’t sell it to us without a price tag.” My slightly more optimistic idea was that if there was no price tag, maybe they’d give to us for free. No harm in asking. Se we requested to speak with one of the managers whose busy feather duster came to abrupt halt when I said, “We do therapeutic art workshops at the Lighthouse. We want to make prayer flags with the ladies and wondered if you’d give us this tablecloth for free since it doesn’t have a price tag?” She looked back and forth from one gray-haired lady to the other assessing whether we were trying to pull a fast one. I am happy to report that neither Lee nor I looked adequately suspicious to alert security. She graciously said yes. Delighted with her gift, we turned to each other as we walked to the car chirping nearly simultaneously, “Ask and you shall receive!” Fun.

That tablecloth eventually became twenty-one napkin-ish prayer flags awaiting paint, stencils and the creativity of the ladies at the Lighthouse, a fifteen-month, faith-based residential treatment program for those in substance abuse recovery. But there was a larger purpose in this project. The ladies know their therapeutic artwork often accompanies me when I teach at workshops and conferences. This time their prayer flags will be journeying to Switzerland where I will be participating in a renewal conference for cross-cultural workers coming from Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. This collaborative art piece will adorn the central meeting room, every prayer flag featuring a focus word for the daily theme. Sarah’s “Discover” prayer flag is for the group day-hike to visit the Jungfrau. (Lee cut a stencil just for this art activity, even though she was really sick, since the Jungfrau is one of the prominent alps viewed from the conference center.) Their prayers will companion me. More fun.

I am endlessly amazed at how resourceful these women are. Given a finite number of stencils, they took bits and pieces of the available shapes, combining and recombining them in more complex images, until they’d filled their flags from edge to edge. So fun to see the results. And so fun to know that when the prayer flags are returned to them they will come with the renewing prayers of those who came to the conference to be refreshed.  

If you’ve ever asked for something you weren’t sure of receiving, what were you given? If you were to link having fun and being therapeutic together, what would you do? Describe what’s fun about it. Describe how it’s therapeutic. What prayer would you write that combines these two things?


2 comments to Fun

  • Wanda Dziuk

    What a beautiful idea! I’m looking for a way to use this with the PW Bible Study groups. Thank you for your work with the LIghthouse. Wanda

  • Jeannie Cavender

    A friend of mine stopped at a garage sale. As she looked around at the items, she became aware that the seller and a potential buyer could not agree on the price of a number of small stuffed animals. The seller wanted more than the buyer was willing to pay. With no compromise reached, the customer left. The seller commented to my friend, “I’m just not willing to let them go for practically nothing!”

    At that point my friend inquired at to what would be a fair price explaining to the seller that she would need at least a dozen and how she would be using them for a summer program for children at her church. Without hesitating the lady said, “Please just take as many as you need and I hope the children enjoy them.” They parted with a smile and no money was exchanged.

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