Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thankfulness and Depression

Thankfulness is great for body and soul and even for depression. According to Lauren Aaronson:

Feeling thankful and expressing that thanks makes you happier and heartier… Just jot down things that make you thankful…Call it corny, but gratitude just may be the glue that holds society together.

In other words, "Just do it!" Although helpful, thankfulness, without God and an assurance of heaven, can be irrational and delusional. Just consider someone who is terminally ill, has lost family and friends, and has nothing tangible to look forward to but death! Besides being insensitive, advising her to be thankful is asking her to be irrational. Although, thankfulness might work emotionally, it requires the client to lobotomize her mind and to deny the most significant aspects of her life.

In addition to this, there remains the awkward question: “Thankful to whom?” Indeed, thankfulness makes sound psychological sense, but Aaronson avoids this obvious question. It’s like throwing a party without inviting the host—not a very thankful thing at that!

Thankfulness demands that we open our eyes and acknowledge that there must be a hidden subject who should be acknowledged. This all comes very naturally and comfortably for the Christian, who needs not make believe that the Host doesn’t exist. In fact, the Host is the lynch-pin who ties it all neatly together, making sense out of thankless situations.

Asaph, the Psalmist, writes, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26, NIV). Besides, practicing Biblical thankfulness doesn’t require the depressed to deny the painful realities of their lives, but instead to acknowledge that they are part of a grander narrative that will find its fulfillment in eternity.

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