“You are perfectly normal.”
This was the reassurance I offered my daughter one day when she was feeling particularly sad, bored, and just plain yucky. It was a new tack, because I usually try to remind my children about gratitude and positive attitudes. But as the regular method of “cheering up” was not proving effective, I endeavored to get her attention in a different way. It worked.
There are no cloudless skies
“No. Really. Have you ever looked around this world? There are plenty of reasons to be down and depressed. There are people who are hungry, children who are dying, people who are stealing or killing or hating right this second.
At every second in your own life you can find SOME REASON to be unhappy. There are no cloudless skies, not one day where somebody’s not mean to you, or something doesn’t go wrong. The sanest people in the world are really unhappy.”
I had said all of this in a matter of fact way, and I paused to see the effect. This was so opposite of what she was used to hearing that she didn’t even give me the eye roll she was preparing. It was almost like I was agreeing with her.
A glimmer of the sun
“But,” I said mysteriously (at least I was trying for mysterious), “there is another kind of person in the world that I want to warn you about… No, they are not the depressed or sad types. They are actually dangerous people. You might even say they are crazy. They don’t pay so much attention to the rational and bona fide reasons to be down and depressed.
You’ll know when you find them because even with all of the yuck in the world, these crazy people still find a reason to hope. It’s like instead of being so mad at the clouds in the sky, they see a glimmer of the sun and are filled with joy.
You can present them with every rational reason in the world to be sad or depressed or to give up, but they don’t. It’s like they have faith in something bigger than themselves, and they don’t see evil in the world as proof that there’s no hope, but the good in the world is proof enough for them that there is.”
One of those crazy people
I could tell she was listening, but her response kind of surprised me. “Mom, you know what I think?” she says, still attempting to keep her bored tone, but her mouth was involuntarily turning up on the corners, “I think you are one of those crazy people.”
I laughed and went to kiss her on the forehead.
“I know you are trying to act normal, kiddo. But you don’t fool me. I think you’re one of those crazy people, too.”
(Mandie DeVries, Director of Religious Education, All Saints Parish)