As I wrote about foster care and adoption this last year, What I'm Going to Be When They Grow Up, I've been thinking more about types of therapy. Different experiences my family members are going through have made me think through what helps and what doesn't, what to say and when to be still.
At some point in our lives, we have a "Job and Friends" situation. Do we need to crack down on a loved one's self-destructive behavior, point them back in the right direction and speak the truth that they don't want to hear?
Or do we need to sit beside them in silence for seven days and nights.
Dorothy Perez shared many stories with me as I wrote her book. She told me about pre-teen twins who cussed at her, and how she wouldn't allow it. She also talked about the love and forgiveness they showed to kids who, intentionally or not, hurt Dorothy and her husband over and over again by their poor choices.
And when we are struggling, what do we do for ourselves?
My favorite two types of therapy right now are dirt and cheese. Not together.
Going out to the garden and getting down and dirty is very restful to me. I can finally clear my head. I've heard that dirt is beneficial even on a microbial level. However it may be, it gives me something to take care of and an excuse to go outside for 15 minutes every day.
There's such a joy in seeing morning glories sprout after just a few days of rain. I love tracking how the vines have climbed in a mere 24 hours, and then counting the flowers each morning until there are too many.
Edith Schaeffer talks about this in "The Hidden Art of Homemaking." She suggested that even in a small apartment balcony, morning glories could be grown in a bucket and simple joy be taken in their presence. I found this to be true during my five years in France, where I always found a place to grow them.
My second therapy, is cheese. And the other foods that go with it. To me, there's nothing like the warmth and fragrance of cooking to encourage my spirit. And then I get to eat it. Cooking awakens my appetite when I'm feeling to low to want to eat. It excites my imagination. It's a quiet moment to turn on Netflix while I chop and slice. It makes me feel useful to give a meal to others out of my plenty.
Cooking gives me something where I can control the outcome. Sure, on a bad day a burned meal adds to the heartbreak, but if I give it my attention, it will turn out well. I can pretty much insure that, when not much else in life has a guarantee.
What is your therapy? Do you have an activity you do, a person you talk to?