Deeply Rooted in Hope and Healing

By Jenny Infanger, CSW


Variation and change are pretty much the only constants in life. Sometimes I get to relish the rainbow brilliance of success and well-being, but other times I slog through days, even months, of darkness. We usually cannot predict the difficulties that life will bring. We all hope for contentment and enjoyment, but often the daily grind can become exhausting; each of us experiences heartache caused by loss, addiction, and chronic mental health issues.

I have a mixed relationship with a quote by Jenkin Lloyd Jones: “Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. . . Life is just like an old time rail journey . . . delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.” I don’t know where we get the notion that life should be easy, or that it should eventually get easier. Life can, at times, push us to a point where we start to question whether the darkness will ever dissipate. I recently received a blunt but much-needed reminder that “life is what it is.” Focusing on what is, rather than what I expected my life to be, has helped me deal with difficulties one day at a time. When times are tough, I remind myself that life is what it is, but that things can change—I can change.

A favorite memory of my late grandfather was when he would play “You Are My Sunshine” on his harmonica. Sunshine, for me, is an apt metaphor for hope and healing.

Finding hope and healing in our lives often requires a change in the way we see and understand ourselves, our lives, and the world. Many times we get caught up in false dichotomies, or black-and-white, or all-or-nothing thinking. I’m all for the colors black-and-white (especially when it comes to Oreos!) but seeing everything in black and white often precludes us from moving forward, and we end up mentally and emotionally stuck. As we work through difficulties, therapies such as EMDR and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, can help us recognize thinking errors that are skewed by things like trauma and depression.

In my work at The Green House Center, I am passionate about helping my clients find hope and healing.