Curious how, when the mind fixes on something in particular, it suddenly seems “everywhere.” So it was with resilience after last week’s post. Friend and fellow writer Loretta Willems, who lives just across the border in Bellingham, and I continued the conversation via email. She forwarded a Washington Post article, “How my mother prepared us to live without her.”
Loretta wrote (and gave me permission to quote),
It articulates what I have hoped to communicate in what I’ve written—the critical importance of laughter and fun and truly enjoying one’s children, giving them as much stability as possible. I had never thought of that gift of enjoying one’s children in terms of the concept of ‘resiliency’. For me it was to help them believe that life contains real goodness in spite of all the terrible things that can happen, faith that life is worth living in spite all the hardship that comes to us in the course of our lives.
This seems eminently transferable to the aging life. Predictability (aka routine). Slowing down to notice. (Yesterday, for one example, I was discouraged. I took my daily walk. In this town, people of all ages smile or greet when passing. Several smiles in, my day had changed.)
But for situations where resiliency seems inadequate, there’s grace, Loretta also reminded. “Grace and prayer…going into the darkness, acknowledging it, giving it voice then giving it to God. This time of life is not easy, but I am convinced that grace is real.” Yes. And as if to nail home the point that resilience isn’t enough, life not a pull-up-the-boots-alone affair, “Resilience is not a DIY endeavour” in The Globe and Mail began just then to bounce about the internet. Yes, again.
How interesting to see my words on your blog, Dora. Thanks for the link to the article about resilience not being a DIY project. I found it very pertinent, something our highly individualistic culture needs to hear. However, the author overstates his case. I would balance his position with Viktor Frankl’s book about his experience in a Nazi concentration camp. Social structures are important, very important, but social structures can collapse. We as individuals need more than good social structures to get through life with our spirits intact.
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