By: Anne Rinaudo
To be afflicted by hope seems a contradictory term. How could hope, so full of promise, joy and anticipation be an affliction?
Being afflicted by hope is a term Baptist Minister, theologian, author and social commentator, Reverend Michael Frost used recently on his blog. He describes this malady as something that can particularly strike men in their sixties. On Open House, Michael Frost discussed the issue with Stephen O’Doherty.
Michael Frost thinks that the pressure on men to provide, to achieve, to make their mark on the world, can energise them and give them hope they will indeed reach – even exceed their goals. That is all a good thing when you are young. However, the flip side is that as men age they find it hard to change gears. It is hard resist the pull of the hope that got them so far. They are in denial about their changing stage and even status as the move into the end of their full time career. Many sixty-something men want desperately to think that nothing is really changing and are not equipped for the many physical, emotional, career and family changes coming into their lives.
The real risk is that people start to spiral into negative thinking and depression that can be overwhelming for men, and women too, at any age. Open House discussed this recently with Chris Cipollone who has written a book (based partly on personal experience). The book ‘Down, Not Out – Depression, anxiety, and the difference Jesus makes’ discusses mental health from a Christian perspective. Lifeline: 13 11 1