Resilience in the face of Life

It’s the new year, and I hear a lot of talk about resilience. Resilience against the effects of this pandemic, as well as from isolation, depression, etc. The experts I read and hear talk of how we must practice being resilient, as if there is a method to that madness.

Just what is resilience? It’s a person’s ability to bounce back after a jarring incident, analogous to an elastic that returns to its shape after being pulled/stretched. To be resilient is truly important for one’s mental health. The pandemic has tested our resilience – that’s true. But how can we practice resiliency?? How do we become resilient?

You and I see resilient people every single day. Those who respond to traumatic or painful situations with a Plan B (thank you, Mrs F, for this kindergarten life skill nugget) with nary a whimper or woe are resilient, tough, and strong. Those who wake up each morning despite losing someone so special to their heart are my heroes. People, especially young people, who face the toughness of everyday life – be it abuse, bullying, homelessness – are the bravest souls. Those who realize that they need help and can reach out are amazing, because when we bare our souls, we open our hearts not only to heartache and ridicule, but also to God, love and life.

Resilience, however, also must come with faith. Faith that all will work out as it can. It is actually faith that will make us resilient. It is our belief in God or a higher being that gives us hope, and without hope, there is not much to live for. Faith is opening our hearts to God and to others, and it makes a person more empowered than anything else. I have seen it, I’ve felt it, and I know it.

For the first year of losing my daughter, I cried every single day practically non-stop. I also remember the month, about 18 months after she died, that I heard myself singing in the car out loud. And it wasn’t from my “Jesus” playlist on Spotify (you can probably find it there). I remember smiling when I realized I can feel again. I smiled because I know it was ok to move on. I know God helped me smile again, because aside from crying incessantly, I also prayed so deeply and longingly. I know He heard my plea for strength, and He answered.

If you don’t feel that faith, if you feel so isolated and in the dark, I want you to know that there are many people who want to help. The hardest thing to do when you’re in sorrow is to tell someone you are in pain. The hardest thing for those who love you but don’t know your pain is to not have the chance to help you. Give someone a chance to help you. You can be resilient on your own, but you also need something and someone else to strengthen your resolve. I’m still receiving therapy, and I look forward to it. It’s so very helpful, and I’m blessed to have it.

I want people to know life is worth living, but life is doggone hard. Why make it harder by not asking for help? Why struggle on your own when there are people and places that can help you?? Allow someone to lend you their ear or shoulder to lean on. You will find someone, and there’s Someone always with you.

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