Recognizing Resilience

Don’t worry, be happy!

A few days ago, a friend came up to me while we waited for the kids in the schoolyard. He’s been going through a tough time lately, getting a divorce from his wife of many years. We stood for a while as he told me about how hard for him was the separation from the kids, from his wife, and from mutual friends who have been choosing sides. I felt a lot of empathy for him, and, wishing to cheer him up, I told him that divorce is considered one of the most difficult things people go through in life. “After you go through this,” I said, “you’ll be able to handle anything else in life.”

My friend smiled half-heartedly, not consoled, but for me the world paused and (metaphorically) tilted on its axis. My own words struck me with incredible force. Wait a second, I thought, didn’t I also go through divorce?

I do not see myself as an especially resilient person, or rather, perhaps I should say, I am more of a worrier, an anxiety-monger. Some fears, especially late at night, strike me with an unbearable, overwhelming dread: losing the children, Dar, or my parents, sickness, and plane crushes. And one thing is clear to me: if it happens, I will not be able to survive. Many other fears hover around me, and though smaller than death, they do not feel at all small. I am worried about the children’s social and intellectual success at school, my parenting mistakes, the dogs, the chickens, and more.

Worrying about these, I suppose, means that I think there is something I can do about them, solutions, even if I don’t know exactly what those solutions are. And so every once in a while I get very overwhelmed by all this responsibility of keeping everyone healthy and happy and well, and I find myself (though not threatened by any danger to life) living in survival mode and under a lot of unnecessary stress.

But wait a second, I too went through divorce, one of the most difficult things people can go through in life. And according to my own words to my friend, that means I can now handle anything else. So… does surviving divorce really mean that perhaps I do have some resilience, some ability to survive other difficulties in life? In a potential Hunger Game situation, could I find that I would not, after all, be the first to die?

To tell the truth, I’m not entirely excited about my potential for survival because I want to be clear with God: no more of this suffering stuff, ok? I want the kids and Dar to be healthy and happy and well, my parents to grow healthy to a very old age, my friends and my family as well. So perhaps I’m resilient, so what? There’s no need to test if it’s true. Let the sun shine all over us today and everyday. On you too.

3 Responses to Recognizing Resilience

  1. Ella Hart January 31, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    I believe you are very resilient and I have many reasons to say so! (if you want a list..) I think you did an amazing job handeling the rainy days and getting yourself to the shiny side. 🙂 love you

  2. Anonymous February 1, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    The road to resilience cuts through the most difficult rocks.
    It descends into rivers.
    It forces you to stand up to your own ideas.
    It helps you not to give in to the crowd view.

    Look behind your shoulder.
    You have already crossed and passed this road.

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