I am dealing with an accusation of being overly optimistic about grief and depression and my view of healing. First, I am enough of a realist to know that when you put your opinions into writing and share them with others, of course everyone is not required to agree or to react in any kind of a positive way. Controversy and varied opinions are not only guaranteed but also a sign of a healthy society which values free speech and thought.
Second, if you have read my book, you know that I included a chapter which dealt with the extreme depression I went through after my son’s death. When I described the feeling of not only dropping into a black hole but also reaching a point where there was little to no desire to continue the struggle to climb out, I definitely was not being overly optimistic. In fact, I understand despair and desperation as well as inertia really well.
However, I have spent many, many hours studying the Bible and in particular the New Testament life and words of Jesus. I have found Him always to be both realistic about the human condition and offering better life, future hope and optimism to everyone around Him. Only when people like the Pharisees and the rich young man cling to wrong thinking and wrong ways does He rebuke them. Otherwise, He offers compassion.
I also have to say that one of the most consistently positive things I have seen in use in education, all the way from tiny tots in library Story Hour to seniors in advanced classes is a good story. Jesus is the master of the good story! He uses parables to make clear His teachings and to convey His optimistic expectations for all mankind.
The story of the Prodigal Son is an excellent example of what I am talking about. Jesus tells a very common, realistic story of what can happen with natural rebellion, succumbing to sinful nature, greed and lawlessness. But He offers the solution of a father’s forgiveness and benevolence, and offers His audience the opportunity of a welcoming future.
Bottom line, I sincerely believe that Jesus’ way offers optimism to everyone, no matter how dark their present. May He bless you richly. Amen.
I just want to continue to share ideas about grief and life with people who long as I do for comfort and understanding.