By Rev. Lori Ethridge
Minister to Senior Adults
I was shopping for Valentine cards last week, but neither the Shoe Box, the Hallmark, the Day Spring, nor the American Greetings options seemed appropriate. Have you ever been disappointed when trying to find just the right words to convey your thoughts in a greeting card? Your desire is to express genuine concern and support, but the commercially available cards often miss the mark. For example, how do you encourage someone whose pregnancy ended in a miscarriage? Or, should you send a card saying, “Get Well Soon” to someone who will likely face a lengthy treatment process? How do you express support to a friend whose child has been arrested for a crime, or whose loved one has entered a treatment center for addiction? I suppose you could send a lovely card that is blank inside, but then what do you write? I usually turn to encouraging scripture passages when in doubt. Preachers are not often at a loss for words, but sometimes the most healing and life-giving words are not the first ones out of our mouths. Often many of us are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. In our fear of potentially making things worse by our words or actions, some of us tend to avoid altogether the suffering of others; as a result we risk further alienating those we truly care about.
Emily McDowell is a graphic artist and has an online greeting card business known as Empathy Cards. She has a new book out
co-authored with Dr. Kelsey Crowe, a professional counselor, entitled, There is No Good Card for This. I heard the pair
interviewed recently, and I plan to buy the book. I always need creative and appropriate ways to say, “I care about you”. In the meantime, I am hosting a card crafting workshop at Rubber Stamp Fantasy, on the Marietta Square on Thursday evening, March 16 at 6:30 p.m. Please let me know if you are interested in participating with others to creatively engage our hands and hearts while assembling greeting cards.