This week I am attending the Clergy Convention for the Diocese of Olympia, and one of the presenters shared some interesting insights about resilience. We all know people who have gone through terrible ordeals, and most of us have gone through struggles of our own. One of the things we notice is that some people seem to do better than others when life throws real suffering and struggle their way. Some people seem more resilient than others. Resilience is our ability to accept our challenges, find ways to cope, reach out for help, and generally to maintain a sense of optimism.
When you are in the middle of your own struggles, resilience can seem like an unattainable dream. Often, when we read about people who seem to do well, even in the face of trials, we think that there is something about that person that makes them more capable. Maybe they are stronger, or smarter, or somehow more gifted.
Here is the good news: Resilience is not a personality trait or an attribute. Resilience is not something you have, like curly hair. Resilience is something we do. We can all be resilient. In fact, resilience is something we do best together, in community, and in relationship.
Our common faith in Christ gives us resilience. Christ inspires us to be generous, forgiving, and compassionate. These are the very qualities that allow us to support one another through life’s struggles. Trust in God, and trust that God’s love will get us through. We experience God’s love in relationship with one another. When I stumble and you are there to help me back up, you have given me the gift of God’s love. So our resilience is a shared capacity for love, compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation. As sisters and brothers in Christ, resilience is something we do for one another.
Yours in Christ,