Do you doodle? I used to. Even though I’m not an artist, like dad, sister, princes, or any number of relatives, I would doodle. If you go back as far I do, a 70s hippie-child, you’ll remember doodle art notebooks and posters? All the kids had them…
This weekend I discovered the lost art of the…doodle. I also found therapeutic play. A friend, who by the way has excellent foresight, suggested I doodle this weekend. “Do what you have to do then just doodle.” She also told me I deserve a weekend off. She wanted me to do what I wanted for a change. It sounded so good. I just had to doodle again.
I got home and lots needed doin’. After completing my chores, I dug out the “doodle art book” and pencils I got for Christmas last year. After a soak in the tub, I was tired. I went to sleep then woke an hour later.
After tossing and turning, I got up and started to doodle. My mind settled as my interest ignited. Pre-teen memories of quiet coloring or freehand doodling on the sides of my pages flooded me. I relaxed into the doodle on the page. I enjoyed the space, memories, and prayer. Finally I was sleepy enough to go back to bed.
Saturday morning was filled with chores. Then I visited dad. He was in one of his depressed-angry moods. He ranted on how horrible life is for him. He had no money in his pocket. Explaining he didn’t need money was ignored. He continued to lecture me about arguing with him. Finally, I gave him two twenties of his money. He snatched them from my hand and shoved them deep in his wallet. Then he wanted two quarters. I gave him the quarters. He hid them in a drawer. I can only say greed and triumph glittered there in his eyes. What did he win? In reality…absolutely nothing at all. It is his money. He will probably give it away or forget about it.
All I could think of, was how blessed he and I are. That’s the reality. He has a place to be safe, warm, and well fed. He has family and friends that care for him. There are so many on this earth who do not have these simple pleasures. Where is our gratitude? Where is our faith? I left with Charles Dickens words from A Christmas Carol ringing in my ears. “…Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” My fingers itched for a colored pencil. I needed to block out the avarice in my father’s face.
I couldn’t help but to think how my father would scoff if he heard what I was thinking. I need some play therapy. Imagine frivolous play as healing therapy. Memories of his criticism of my doodling surfaced. If I was caught doodling in the margins of my paper I was not paying attention, or I wasting time and paper. No wonder I lost the power of play. If I told my dad about any activity, it had to have a purpose. Activities I liked, hiking, riding, and reading; became exercising, working the horses, or homework. Nothing could be for enjoyment. It turned play to work. Just scraping to get by.
But play has a healing component to help the brain find its creative pathways. It allows the brain to wander into joy. Then my brain wanders to gratitude for my blessings. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child[a] will not enter it.” [Mark 10:14-15 NABRE]. Jesus claims us as children of God. He understands children learn through play and exploration.
God wants us to explore his world inside and out. Who knew that adventure could be found in doodling. I saw this weekend what no play has brought my father. No joy. No peace. Without joy we will become the “…scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” of A Christmas Carol.
My friend did me a great service this weekend by suggesting I open a page and doodle. Who knew that a simple pencil and a sheet of paper could hold healing. Methinks it is a good time to set aside my writing and pick up a colored pencil.
Doodle away my friends!