Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy

"Would you like to wake up every morning with happy, positive thoughts?"
So asketh the Jehovah's Witness tract we found on our front porch.

"I'm in-right, out-right, up-right, down-right happy all the time!"
So sangeth the wee children's church kids, myself included.

Is it any wonder, then, that depression was the unnameable? It wasn't just that I was taught to "pray through it"; it went more to the core. Depression was a failure of God in my life, and therefore, unacceptable. Not that I ever actually spoke the word, or admitted to myself that it was what I was struggling with...but I still knew how to "deal with" depression. Pray it away. Be happy all the time.

A few weeks ago, I read an article on happy being the only acceptable emotion. The context was contrasting attachment parenting, where children are generally allowed to express themselves, with hyper-conservative parenting that frequently results in children too terrified (of being spanked, frequently) to show any emotion that isn't positive.

I definitely wasn't raised in that latter camp. But the same mentality showed up in my children's church, and is still being heralded as the cure-all that Jesus will bring. "I've been set free; he has made my life wonderful" was an unspoken refrain of my growing-up years. There wasn't a category for depression. The answer was always: Jesus.

No, Jehovah's Witnesses whom I'm glad we weren't home to have to deal with. Dialoguing with you, or more, attending the conference with "a live play" that you want me to, will not make me wake up happy every morning.

"Since Jesus Christ came in, and cleansed my heart from sin, I'm in-right, out-right..." That one didn't work either.

And you know what? It's okay. Because at least it isn't fake.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lina,

    Anna again :) I typed you this great comment and then lost it :( But the gist of it was that I am also extremely frustrated by the Church's history of hiding away negative emotions and doubts and shying away from hard, honest questions. It's one of the things that I think is so extremely unhealthy and I'm sorry that it is one of the ways you experienced Church. It's like people decided to white out a majority of Psalms, Lamentations, Job, etc. It's ridiculous and a shame. Jesus wasn't happy all the time--that's not what our lives are supposed to be about, but the Church has gotten so distracted.
    I believe Jesus is a real answer, but not in the you-have-to-fake-like-he's-working sense... I have a number of friends at the moment who are struggling with depression of varying degrees, but the one I am closest too is really, really deep (and, if I am honest, scary)... But we're working through it as a medical, environmental (stress triggers and such) and spiritual issue and I am learning so much.

    Anyway, I'm sorry that you're experiencing this. Thank you for sharing this honestly here--one person's openness can be a wave of encouragement for others to be open as well. I care about you and like you a lot--you are valued and valuable, J and so is V :)

    Aaaaalso, thank you for spelling "tract" correctly ;)

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