Book Challenge XXI

I picked up this book at one of those discount tables at a big bookstore thinking that the title sounded familiar. I read it as I made my way back home for a little visit with my family. I was going to take my sister on a college visit (which I'm still digesting for another post). It was the first time I have seen my brother since June. He doesn't return calls. He doesn't respond in any way. I think that's why I really picked up this book.

I want him to have a rose garden, but it's not that simple. As this author records her account of mental illness (which is formed by her own story), the worlds between sanity and insanity are complicated by blurry lines. This is one of those books that I wish I could read with others in ministry because I still want to know how we respond. I want to know how we care for those that we don't always understand. I want to be there in a way that I can't be there for my brother. It's too close. I want him to have the damn rose garden, even if it's impossible. Even if he won't take meds or go to therapy. I want him to have the damn garden that I can't give him because I no longer know how to talk to him. And this, dear friends, is why I worry about our ministry to the mentally ill. I worry that we get too close and suddenly give up because we don't know what else to do. It's just not fair. I want us all to have a rose garden. It's all I want. Sigh. It's a good book though.

1 comment:

Erica B said...

I read this within the past few years, also. Your questions are good ones. And I somehow think the answers are things that we either stumble upon, or keep searching for -- not very profound, I know. I know one thing that I have learned -- to recognize my limits in helping someone, particularly someone in crisis. But that doesn't really get at the pastoral care piece.

Another novel that deals with issues of mental illness, as well as autism, in what feels to me a very authentic way is Tilt -- by I believe Elizabeth Burns.

It seems like sometimes the most important questions and the most deeply held wishes are the ones that can be the most painful.