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The Blue Donkey Speaks

I have a friend who reminds me of Eeyore. Remember him? Eeyore the donkey from the Winnie the Pooh stories. Poor Eeyore is always gloomy about something. He's always losing his tail or rebuilding his house after it's collapsed. When he talks, he's always sad and sluggish-sounding, and you just can't cheer him up. Sounds like a fun guy to sit next to at a party, right? So what is it about my friend that reminds me of Eeyore? Well, whenever we talk, something is wrong. Even when something good is going on, there's something wrong with that. That's not always a problem because I have a slightly off-kilter sense of humor and don't mind dry, ironic humor. I think it's good to share the ups and downs of life with friends. But lately, I leave our conversations wondering if it's good for us to talk about our troubles so often. As we wallow in mucky sadness, our conversations often end with one or both of us feeling kind of down.

The truth is, sometimes I'm Eeyore. In fact, I'm sure a recent conversation with my mom left her wondering whether she'd given birth to a daughter or a gloomy little blue-gray don-key. I wailed and moaned and sputtered and snarled, and I could not be comforted. My tail had fallen off. My house had collapsed.

My Eeyore-ish tendencies remind me of a sermon I once heard that was based on John 5. Here Jesus healed a paralyzed man who has been lying by a pool that was supposed to have special healing powers. When Jesus asked the man if he'd like to be healed, the man said something like this: "I have no one to help me to the pool to be healed." Then, Jesus told the man to "Get up! Pick up your bed and walk."

Think about what Jesus said to the man. Why would He ask a paralyzed man if he'd like to get well? And why would he tell a paralyzed man to just get up and get going? That sounds almost mean, doesn't it?

But according to the preacher, Jesus was challenging the way the man thought about himself. Being well would require a whole new way of thinking and living. He couldn't just depend on others anymore; he'd have to take responsibility for himself. If he wasn't paralyzed anymore, he couldn't lie by the pool. This man had to decide if he was ready to take the new life that Jesus was offering.

That sermon really challenged me to be responsible for the things I spend my time thinking about and talking about. It challenged me to do what I can to get beyond my Eeyore-ish thinking. When I'm upset, I can put on some good music and get moving. Maybe I can do an extra workout and enjoy the good kind of tired I'll feel when I'm done. I can read my Bible or pull out my journal and make a list of the things that are going well. And yes, I can talk to my friends - if I'm doing that to feel better instead of just spreading my bad mood like a germ-filled sneeze. I can take up my bed and walk.

I don't think that means if you're depressed for a long time, you should just expect yourself to snap out of it. If this happens, you should ask your parents or a school counselor to help you figure out if you just have the blues or if you're struggling with something deeper.

But if you simply have a case of the blues, then I would encourage you to try and look at the bright side more often. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm going to try my best to do things that help me to feel cheerful.

I should probably start by reattaching this tail and building up this collapsing house.
—LaTonya Taylor, October 7, 2005

via Glad Tidings of Good Things
Volume 11 (July 20, 2006), page 3