Resilience is the ability to move through and grow from difficulties; a skill developed over time from lessons and experiences absorbed resulting from accepting changes and challenges of personal goals. Despite set-backs or inabilities in various fields, resilience moves forward as per the following:
“Despite my grindstone disposition, I put a smile on my face and greet the workers I manage”. S. “Running a marathon, at the 20-mile marker, I felt like stopping and lying down, but I kept going, encouraged by the words, ‘JUST DO IT’! on the back of the shirt of the runner in front of me.” M.
Eighty-three years ago, in 1941, Winston Churchill delivered one of his most famous speeches during World War 2 with a three-word conclusion that has inspired generations ever since. "Never, never, never give up”. With that said, he sat down. This quote has become famous and enduring.
Tom Brady, the winningest quarterback in NFL history, drafted 4thround and postured to be a practice player declared--“If I ever get on that field…” --won 251 regular season games and 35 postseason games for a combined 286 wins. Brady holds a .754 winning percentage, the highest among NFL quarterbacks who have started 100 games, for 23 seasons. At 44 years old, he decided to officially retire from the NFL at the end of 2022. Unquestionably, he fought self-doubt and wrangled with discipline often.
Resilience is generated by persistence—a tenacity--in doing what you should/have to/need to/want to do--patiently step by step with a relaxed, open mind and a calm attitude in dealing with problems in the following common areas. To which of the following do you relate?
Care-giver responsibilities, loss of loved ones, relationship entanglements, job loss, medical survival, financial crises, weather catastrophes, auto emergencies, appliance failure, school issues, marriage and parenting problems, passed over for a team/job, etc. Add your own, such as resilience needed in managing a series of physical/technical challenges that you know little about--my inspiration for this blog.
Relaxing after Christmas celebration, still finding my way with the sting of losing Jim, my team partner, still fresh after 65 years as I read a newsletter from Andrew, a co-worker with whom Jim and I kept close contact. Catching up on their adult children’s work and marveling over the pictures and his new ministry, I instinctively emailed him to tell him how delighted I was for his family update.
He responded: Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, Ruth! After he shared more in depth about his new responsibilities, he asked: “How are you getting along without Jim?” to which I replied: I would never have dreamed that I could function without Jim. I am in excellent health. Close contact with my children and grands who are sensitive to my needs and weekly phone calls with my four sibs help and comfort me; continuing the ministry of blogs, which you are aware of, along with counseling, and church activity keep me focused and content. God is good. I still miss Jim immensely.
Andrew replied: Ruth, you have resilience to adjust so well to being without Jim. Many in today's pampered society lack resilience, a critical element in ministry. We are thankful for God's grace upon us. We have a long way to go to catch up to you! Blessings during this Christmas season and the New Year.
I responded: “I can’t believe you used the word resilience, because that’s the subject of the blog I’m working on.” I had never used resilience to describe my behavior in adjusting to the loss of Jim, and Carolyn, my best girlfriend, within six months, but recovering from significant losses does require a certain type of resilience--a starting over; accepting change and remaining positive and encouraged as adjustments are made in the absence of reliable and strategic relationships.
The dialog with Andrew reveals the long process of distractions and hurdles which delayed this blog. Writing about resilience and enjoying the resilience compliment from Andrew is one thing but a series of Uh-Oh’s occurring the following week demanded a quick review of resourcing resilience.
Monday morning, I noticed water in the bottom of the sink cabinet. Normally, I’d turn that kind of problem over to Jim, but self-talk came naturally (resilience is actually activated by self-talk: “This isn’t the end of the world,” “help me, Lord, to relax”; “take a deep breath;” “think about who you can call.”)
“Soak up the water. Take everything out. Find the leak. Call neighbor Mark. He knew how to repair it. By evening, everything was put back into a dry cabinet. Whew!
Tuesday afternoon: The TV in my office was not working. A call to the vendor lasted for two hours. His message “Your TV is old and needs to be replaced”, didn’t solve my problem but added to it. I was mulling over how I would get a new TV when the tech called me back…” I’m going to give you a number to call. Write this number down.”
“Who am I calling?” “Vizio, the maker of your TV.” “What am I supposed to tell him?” “That your cable box is ok. TV is not.” The Vizio tech asked me to use the Vizio control. I’m using a Verizon control.”
“Find your Visio control.” He instructed. “It’s small and black with Vizio written on it. I’ll wait”. I was pretty confident I had never seen one, but since Jim never threw anything away, I checked where he would have stored it. And sure enough, there it was and hurried back to my office. “I found it.”
“Check the batteries”, he said. I was not only surprised that I could open the back but equally surprised that there were no batteries in it. “Do you have batteries?” “Yes”, I replied. But I’m not good at putting batteries in.” “I’ll hold and guide you in putting batteries in,” he said calmly, like he had all day. At this point, I must admit to you, my readers, that I had never put a battery into anything until after Jim was gone. He liked doing hands-on-jobs. So, I’m a pure novice.
“Now, I’m going to need your help”, the tech warned. “Ok, I am good at following instructions”. He asked me to press different buttons and asked, “Is the TV on?” It would come on, then go off again. He asked me to press other buttons. No change. Finally, he said, “Do you see the output button?” “Yes”.
“Press that button about 20 times in a row”, which I did. Lo and behold! a picture appeared on my TV. “Your TV is old”, he said, “but it will last you for a long time.” I felt good. Relieved. Ready to get back to work and resume writing. I think the lady next door could hear me sigh a sigh of relief.
The next day, when I was ready to post the blog, there was no internet. The rep at the vendor again set me up with a tech who checked everything out and said, “Do you have a laptop?” I did. “See if you get internet on your laptop”. Which I said would take a few minutes to go after it and turn it on. “I’ll hold”, he said. Well, what do you know! My laptop had the internet. “Your computer must be the problem. How long have you had it? “Several years”. Who put it in?” “My grandson”. “Is he near?” “Yes, he lives locally.” “Ask him if he can fix the problem.”
I texted Kurt, who is not only my blog advisor but my computer person, as well. He said he’d stop the next day. He came; 20 min later he was on his way out. He fixed it. Updated drivers. The tech from the Philippines did call to learn if my grandson fixed it and how.
All through talking with techs when I didn’t have time to talk—six hours all told--I remained calm, intentionally asking the Lord to help me not to think and plan ahead before I needed to and to give me patience with a tech whose second language is English.’ Discovering the X in Xmas blog was posted later than I planned but before Christmas. A sigh of relief! My journal entry was: “Three things in two days were a bit much for me. I am thankful to the Lord that I got through the series of problems that couldn’t have been solved without help.”
But, the next morning, I noticed a red light on my upright, packed freezer. Immediately, my heart began to drop, wondering where I could store all that food. “Slow down,” I told myself, “Don’t borrow problems. You are not alone; God is here with you.” Dan, the freezer repairman said, “I’ll be right over. I live close by. It just needs a new control box—I have one in the truck.”
Therefore, …let us throw off everything that hinders…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Heb 10:35 (NIV).
Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness….2 Pet. 1:6 (NIV).