Friday, April 2, 2010

Book Review

Jesus Wept
by Joyce and Dennis Ashton

Jesus Wept: Understanding & Enduring LossI expected more from this book.

Here I was seeking some comfort and guidance after my younger sister-in-law died and I was given this book with heartfelt concern and love from a dear friend whom had received her own comfort from it’s pages and wished nothing more than for me to also have comfort… But this really leaves me wanting something more.

The book is pretty much split into 3 sections. The first 3rd of the book covers types of feelings. The second 3rd talks about the reasons for the feelings. And the last 3rd of the book deals with how we should deal with these feelings.

There are several reasons why this book really didn’t resonate with me:

1) This book is based mostly on the personal trials of one family/person. And though their life has been full of trauma I don’t know that it was really portrayed to me in a way that made me care. There are small tidbits throughout the book from others experiences, but most of it was “when this happened to ME.” Or “when MY so-and-so died.” Or “when the house fell on MY wicked witch” blah blah blah. I don’t really want to hear the personal experiences of the author. I wanted counseling and guidance and not a 247 page testimony meeting.

Tell me these things in Third Person POV. I don't want YOUR personal experiences. What YOU feel and what YOU think and what YOUR emotions are... this just doesn't apply to me. I am not YOU.

2) I think I was looking for more FACTS and not opinions. This book is full of opinions. I wanted more direct cause and effect statements, i.e. You feel this way because this happened. Maybe I was expecting the book to psychoanalyze me and give me some direction through my grief, but it didn’t.

The book as a whole is full of nonsense and not the least bit helpful, but I have gleaned a little bit of perspective out of it. Like the average grieving period is 18-24 months for some people, but for close family and friends it could take years!

In the end, can emotions really be measured and quantified?

According to encyclopedia.comEmotion: term commonly and loosely used to denote individual, subjective feelings which dictate moods. In psychology, emotion is considered a response to stimuli that involves characteristic physiological changes—such as increase in pulse rate, rise in body temperature, greater or less activity of certain glands, change in rate of breathing—and tends in itself to motivate the individual toward further activity…. Since emotions are abstract and subjective, however, they remain difficult to quantify: some theories point out that non-Western cultural groups experience emotions quite distinct from those generally seen as "basic" in the West.”

So my answer is: No, not really. All these books about counseling and grief/loss are all just other peoples opinions. The only one I can really trust is my own.


Rachel said...

Very true. You are the only one that can influence how you feel. Others can try, sometimes you can read something inspiring, but mostly it comes down to you conquering the sadness yourself. I wish you the best Liz! I know that you will have a broken heart for a long time, but always remember that you have people who love you if you only say the word.

I love you!

Scarlet said...

Thanks Rachel. I love you too!