As we witness in our offices almost daily, children need additional modalities to work through their suffering as well as acknowledge and express their feelings. We often use play and art therapy to help them connect with what they are feeling on the inside and share it with those of us who can help them process and cope. For older students and adolescents, unstructured writing is another way to share what sometimes for them just can't seem to be spoken. Even adults benefit from alternative forms of communication when the feelings are either seeping out in their behavior in uncontrollable ways or stuck inside causing depression and anxiety.
I also know that play has a therapeutic benefit all its own and that is the reason that I took six kids to Six Flags Over Texas this week. It was so encouraging to witness my nieces and nephew running around outdoors, experiencing an occasional adrenaline rush, and yes - even at times laughing. (If I was completely honest, it didn't hurt this adult much either.) I am so grateful to our Sunday School class who saw a need and provided the season passes for these children giving them a gift money really couldn't begin to buy.
Yes, there were sad moments as we walked and at times held hands or on the car ride where they shared how much they missed their daddy but even having the space and focus for them to share these feeling with another adult and then be able to release them was beneficial.
Taking care of yourself and planning opportunities to have a little fun is something all of us need as we struggle with the trials of life. The waves of grief with all it's sadness and anger are unavoidable in many moments but it's wise to remember and apply the scripture that a cheerful heart is truly good medicine. Whether it be a through watching comedic media, doing our favorite activity or just having a great meal out at our favorite restaurant with a great friend, sometimes we all need a heavy dose.