Determining whether or not a person has lived a pointless life depends greatly on their personal experiences and worldview. Mitsuko talks about how, “[Otsu] has lived a really pointless existence…but since [she has] come [to India], [she has] started to think maybe it hasn’t been so pointless after all” (Endo 162). Within the book, Deep River, Otsu devoted his life and lives it entirely through God. Otsu loves God to the point that being rejected from seminary and many other failures and setbacks cannot change his love for the Lord who provides the plan and purpose to Otsu’s life.
Just as in Matthew 22:37, Otsu loves the lord with all his heart and mind. Otsu knows that, “even if [he] tries to abandon God… God won’t abandon [him] (42)… [He] has faith in his Onion” (66). In the beginning of the book when Mitsuko is trying to persuade Otsu to dump his God, Otsu explains that God, he feels, is his last connection to his mother who had passed away sometime before. Otsu lives his life for the Lord which leads him to wanting to go to seminary. Without this love for the Lord, Otsu would not have gone on with his own life plans to go to seminary to continue on his excitement for God. Seminary was a major part of Otsu’s life even though it did not turn out the way he had hoped.
Otsu was hoping to become a priest, the brotherhood concluded that he was not yet ready. Otsu’s, “ordination to the priest hood [had] been postponed. But [he] [had] not lost his faith… [His] trust is in the life of the onion, who endured genuine torment for the sake of love on our behalf… I feel that trust strengthening within me” (119). Otsu was not able to go through to becoming a priest in Lyon but he did not let this set back ruin his life and or his love and trust in God. Otsu trusted that God had another plan for him; his life was not pointless because of this situation. Otsu did not change due to the failures and setbacks in his life, instead he helped others. Throughout the book, Otsu comes off to the reader as a very smart, genuine, friendly man.
Otsu had many setbacks and failures, such as his Mother passing away. Even though Otsu, “had realized nothing but setbacks and failures,” (154) such as his ordination being postponed, “the man was still obstinately living for the sake of his onion. For something Mitsuko had been unable to find in her own life” (154). Otsu continued to live his life as a Godly man who not only helped himself but also in many occasions, Mitsuko. He continued to live just like the words of Luke 6:38,”Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap, for by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
Even though Otsu never exactly had the long end of the straw he certainly gave to others even if it was only words of wisdom about his God to Mitsuko. Through the eyes of someone who is religious, no matter what religion it may be, Otsu is seen in the book to have lived a life full of value and purpose. Otsu devoted his life to God and even when others made his religious beliefs into a comic he still followed his beliefs and his worldview staying true to who he was; living a life full of purpose.
Courtney from Study Moose
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