A Quick Book Look -- Pain and Loss

I occasionally receive free books to read and review. I will be bringing you these reviews, some in more depth than others. I hope they're helpful to you.

Having recently placed my Mom in a seniors' home and lost both my father and husband, I feel qualified to comment on the book Finding Purpose Beyond our Pain, by Paul Meyer and David Henderson, both Christian psychiatrists. The book is divided into sections of four chapters each, one section devoted to each of seven issues: injustice, rejection, loneliness, loss, failure, discipline, death. According to the authors these are life’s most common struggles; I suspect they are correct in that. At the end of each section there are several pages of practical steps to take, points to remember, and questions to contemplate. I always appreciate a self-help book with a feature like this. By the time you’ve studied several chapters on a topic, it’s easy to lose track of the forest for the trees.

Of course, I was especially interested to read the authors’ take on the subject of loss. Interestingly, it deals with several kinds of loss, including time, significance and control. They go on to look at what we can gain through the experience of losing something important. I was a bit surprised, but pleased, to see they also discussed the issue of whether what can be gained is worth the suffering. Most writers, especially Christian ones, would automatically assume it is, but even the strongest person can find themselves asking “Is it really worth it?” during tough times.

Each topic is treated with this same thoroughness and honesty. The complete, if brief, coverage of topics here makes this book useful for those who work with or know someone who is struggling with the problem of pain. The honesty makes it a book that challenges but never condemns. While it is a christian book, it doesn't push religion until the final section on fear of death, so it could be used by non-Christians, too. All in all,  I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in the topic. It should be useful to individuals, and would make an excellent resource for those who deal with people, whether as a counselor, pastor, or friend.

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