Not too long after we finished the “Essentials” seminar at Ashland – which emphasizes that one of the components of healing is “community” – my wife and I had the opportunity for a little vacation to Columbus, Ohio. Before we headed home we decided to make a stop at the Ohio Historical Center, just to look around. I was completely dumbfounded by this exhibit of quilts done by residents at the Ohio Asylum for the Insane in Athens, Ohio in the mid-1900s. These remarkable works of art and craftsmanship – done as part of the physical therapy program and then given to other residents – exhibit a beautiful mix of healing components that we as caregivers might well consider in our own ministries:
gathering into small groups (since it is well-known that it is difficult to quilt alone);
working on some project together keeps the hands (and maybe the left brain?) busy, leaving the right brain free to talk with others (and it’s also well-known that quilting in a group is not a silent activity!)
working on a project together might give participants a sense of working toward a visible, tangible goal
the idea that the quilt would be given to another resident might make the project and the effort seem all the more worthwhile, and result in a sense of accomplishment but also a greater sense of well-being among the recipients: “We not only did something together, we did something good together for someone else!”
What other healing factors might you notice about a project like this? Is there a way you could encourage this kind of project more often in your ministry?