Hobbies and Healing

words by: Ferree Hardy

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The title this month—“Hobbies and Healing”—is not a mistake. But I understand if it takes you by surprise. Who would think that a column called “Widow’s Path” would talk about hobbies? Wouldn’t that be frivolous? After all, hearts are heavy and wounded. Hobbies might seem silly.

But during grief, when we suffer the loss of a loved one, we simply cannot endlessly maintain grief’s emotional roller-coaster ride. It’s exhausting. We need an escape. We need to slow down, rest, and remember what fun feels like. Likewise, our physical body demands a break from the constant drain of grief. Hobbies can provide much-needed rest, and rest leads to healing. That’s hardly frivolous. 

Dennis Disselkoen, in his book Losing a Spouse: A Widower’s Way—Help in Coping During Her Last Days and in the Days Ahead, wrote:

“Every one of us has been given talent, skills, insights, and abilities that we can develop, and we please God when we do develop them. There are interests that each person may pursue for his or her enjoyment and betterment. Pursuing these may also be helpful in coping with loss—not merely as diversions or distractions, but as worthwhile activities in themselves.”

If you are a widow or widower, don’t you agree that an activity that provides some rejuvenation and relaxation would be worthwhile? When sleep is scarce and thoughts are too foggy and scattered, devoting some time to a hobby helps with recovery.

Making Time for a Hobby

Finding time for a hobby is challenging in many ways. We all work! We work hard! Free time seems impossible for a young widow with a house full of children. For older widows, it might seem impossible that anything could lessen the feelings of fear, loneliness, and vulnerability. Don’t go down the hole of helplessness. Read on for ways that hobbies have helped some of my widow friends.

For the younger widows, hobbies can take the form of activities to do together with the children. Did you learn how to garden, sew, or cook from your mother? Why not look at these chores as pleasurable hobbies instead? Each one is actually an art and skill that will bring your children great benefit and satisfaction as they grow. 

Nap times or finding a babysitter for an afternoon might also provide some free time for young widows. Do you remember all the people who told you to call them if there was anything they could do? Call them now to get the rest and spare time you need to develop your talents and abilities. 

Finding an Interesting Hobby 

My husband Tom, who was widowed at age 40, would have said that nothing interested him—hobbies sounded boring. His idea of a hobby was stamp collecting. I agree—that wouldn’t sound too interesting to a man who loved boating and snowmobiles! But  Tom walked for miles each evening and enjoyed building things with his 10-year-old son. Those activities may also be considered as hobbies. Think of a hobby as simply doing anything you enjoy.

To read the full story, purchase a September back issue here.

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Ferree Hardy has helped thousands of widows through her book, “Postcards from the Widows’ Path,” small groups, speaking, and personal coaching, but touching one life at a time is what matters most to her. She holds a BA from Moody Bible Institute, and was a pastor’s wife in Ohio for over twenty years before her first husband died. She’s happily remarried now, and her readers know that moving seems to have become a hobby for her. But she also enjoys backyard chickens, aims to read fifty books a year, and loves to bake. Learn more by visiting her blog.

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