Hallmark Therapy


From about a year and a half ago, but still pertinent to most any situation. In case you are wondering, I’m almost through the old Facebook posts that I want to transfer over. Soon, it will all be original material. (The crowd goes wild….)
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Thursday, 26 August 2010 at 12:51

We all have bad days. If you have never had a bad day, get out from underneath your rock. There are also bad seasons. Weeks or months, hopefully not years, go by and life is handing you one lousy situation after the other.

Since mid-July, I have experienced one zinger after another. I am still in fair health, and my family and close friends are staying healthy. Other than that…it feels like no holds barred. Housing, car troubles, people, pestilence, work schedules, grant writing, people, new job, moving, stacks of boxes, people, massive emotional break downs, resurgence of my LPRD, and lack of sleep and nutrition due to the aforementioned events.

Please, do NOT nominate me for ANY reality TV show.

Without prayer and church services, I would be in an entirely different state of mind. Orthodoxy allows me to come to a service and be who I am at that place in time – whether I am joyful, exuberant, tired, mourning, weary, or heart-broken. Prayer reminds me that I do not know what will happen, nor should there be any expectations on my part of certain outcomes. God is God; I am not – and that’s how it should be.

I find peace in the truth of Scripture. Love God and whatever I’m going through will work towards a “good.” Not to say that what I experience or endure IS good, nor am I required to immediately see “the good” once it is upon me. Scripture is not a “get out of pain free” card, rather a “here are your options when life sucks” manual.

And when I’m about to burst due to my circumstances and can no longer wallow in them, I spend an hour or so in Hallmark. I can not pinpoint when I specifically started this as a form of therapy, but it always, always helps.

Greeting card sections or Hallmark stores offer a vast amount of wisdom, common sense, reality, or just plain silliness. I find in my perusing of folded paper and ink, that I am able to cope and accept my own set of circumstances yet focus on others. Hallmark Therapy is needed when you are so overwhelmed with your life that the only way out is to shove your own grieving or anxiety to the side and start eyeing the paper stock. I am able to put in perspective what I need to emotionally ingest while turning my mind towards others.

Rather than “grumble, grumble, AGAIN!?!?!”, I can start to think and reminisce:

Does _____ need an extra word of encouragement?

______ has a birthday soon. Where’s a good song?

This card reminds me of _____ and how stupid I was when ______. (And yes, it is very likely that yours truly was the stupid one…)

In addition to my therapy session, I also signed up for the rewards program having now fully acknowledged Hallmark as a therapeutic entity for my future. Had I joined during my last appointment in January/February, I would be that much closer to earning some rewards. Oh well.

My action plan begins in the sound/song aisle as it’s a good warm-up to the other sections; I then head to the Shoebox section, followed by Fresh Ink, then to where ever my fancy takes me.

I continued to move from one section to the next to scour the options. As with all collections you have the basic messages – safe and non-offensive; the “I’m trying to say something meaningful, but just can’t” messages – I always find those infuriating. And there are plenty of cards in the “cope” category; Hallmark Therapy is not as effective if you skip the “cope” cards. As I mentioned above, reading through the cards, I’m able to grasp the truth of my own situation so I’m able to move on in life. The variety of coping is anywhere from “I’m here when you need me” to “When should I bring the case of wine.” Then there are the humor cards. The cute humor, the sexy and romantic humor, the aging or birthday humor, and the random humor.

In the latter category, I would like to add a find from Wednesday:

“Saying ‘thank you’ seems like such a mundane, ordinary way to express my gratitude…

Would you like a chicken?”

I laughed uncontrollably right there in the store for at least two minutes. My eyes started misting. Oh, it felt good to laugh again.

Hallmark Therapy is sharing the joy AND the burden. Not a “who can I unload to this time” card, but a simple way to say “thank you” for being there. A quick way to say, “I’m thrilled for you!” Or the most common, “Happy Birthday!”

So, that day I walked out of Hallmark with three cards and a scarf that was on the clearance rack. Mind you, a purchase is not always necessary – this can be free for those on a budget. Life’s junk was still on the outside of the store; I still have some decisions to make and more frustrations to come. But that’s life: relationships and events. Sometimes they are in conflict and other times they are like clockwork. And for all the highs, lows, and in-betweens, there’s probably a Hallmark card for it.

And, yes, I do care enough to send the very best.

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