You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘resilience’ tag.

brown wooden ship's wheelWhat happens if one day God decides to process all the paperwork on your prayers and suddenly, you’re sitting on top of a big pile of money? You look out at the driveway and see that there are suddenly several new cars! In the backyard, there’s an in-ground pool and a sculptured-stone fire pit. You notice a small chalet in the corner of the yard. You ask, Is that the place where we store the gold-plated rider mower? No, you’re told. That’s the servants’ quarters!

Okay, you need to sit down and take a breath. What happens now? 

Once you get the resources you’ve been asking for, sure, there will be more money, but also more drama to deal with. More tasks to keep track of. More appliances in need of repair. More bureaucracy to navigate. More taxes to pay. 

Dealing with problems, lack of money, and doing without is ground-floor training for the good times. This is the time to develop a system by which you get important tasks done. To learn how to stay on budget. To prioritize what is screaming for attention and what is really just a squeaky door hinge.

If you hadn’t gone through the boot camp of making do and scraping by, you might never know how to manage abundance when it comes. Challenges aren’t punishment or penance. Trials aren’t tests, but training. So with that wherewithal-workout under your belt, when your ship comes in, you’ll already be wearing your captain’s hat, ready to take the wheel. 

I strongly suspect that part of being resilient is learning how to problem solve.

My son has his first real job as in background check and direct deposit.  I am being strongly encouraged not to helicopter parent.

Not that this is anything new.  Since he was about 9, I’ve had occasional admonitions to “behave myself.”

So how do I manage not to hover now that he’s a life guard and has so much responsibility?  I pray.  I color and pray.  I crochet and pray. And I have a network of friends who will talk me off the ledge if I make a phone call.

God has provided me with the tools I need to give the boy the tools he needs even though I really do want to hover.


My horoscope for today really spoke to me.  “Oh, what the heck. Haven’t you held on to this long enough? Sure you have.  Look at your present, and forget the past.”

And I tried to think of the present and the hopes I have for this particular day, but my mind kept flipping back to yesterday.  Yesterday was a hard day. I won’t go into it and bring you all down because today is a good day.  I had to let it go. Yesterday is in the past.  Even whatever happened this morning is already in the past.

Sometimes we might think of life as all or nothing.  But I have this huge problem hanging over my head!  Or, there seems no answer to this long-standing, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking issue.

Maybe it’s about taking human bites.  Keeping in mind that we’re all human, we’re all trying. About assuming that everyone else is trying their best, even when your teen-age son shines you on as you ask him to get up.  “I’m up,” he says, curling up even deeper into the warm blankets, eyes sealed shut.  You stand over him, arms akimbo, and start to seethe.

“Honey?”  No response.  “Time to wake up, sweetie.”  After a few minutes, there are signs of life. “Huh?”

“You fell back to sleep honey.  Time to get moving.”

“What do you mean, Ma?  I was up the whole time!”

Count to ten, self.  Breathe, woman!  Let him think he was up, as long as he’s up now.

In fact, let them all see the world as they see it.  Let the people delude themselves if they need to.

Don’t let it change the hope you have for this day.  Today is a good day.

Things you read in the news can make you cynical.

Like John Edward, the former presidential candidate who cheated on his wife with Rielle Hunter, a campaign photographer.  At one point, in an interview with ABC news, the network said that Mr. Edward “made a point of (saying) that his wife’s cancer was in remission when he began the affair with Hunter.”  As it turned out, it wasn’t true.

Or the New Jersey couple accused of abusing Sammy the dog.  The man in this case told local media initially that he had found the dog on the side of the road in deplorable condition and made himself out to be a hero.  “Who would do that to a dog?” He said, playing to the camera. Turns out, he would.  He and his estranged wife had owned Sammy for nine years and had left the dog malnourished and unable to walk.  

Let everyone else see the world the way they see it.  Even if they’re not telling you the whole story, you tell your own tale.  Even if somebody isn’t quite the real deal, you know what’s true.  Faith, family, friends.  Perseverance, purpose, prayer.  The things that light you up from the inside are the things you should always focus on.  It’s what will get you through the hard times and give meaning to your life. As we say in Jersey, I’m not pulling your chain when I say this:  today is a good day.

Bill Cosby told the story of how his father would exaggerate how much worse his life had been.

“I got up at 4 AM, walked to school with no shoes, in five feet of snow, uphill…both ways.”


What is it that makes us feel we’re in a contest to prove our pain is the most unbearable?  And why do some people build resilience and bounce back like rubber, while others cave like a sunken soufflé?

Some people look at problems as opportunities and others as insurmountable walls.  Which category do you fall into?

The Sad Sack
Also known as Mama Melodrama.  She seems not only to be stymied by problems, but even to glory in them.

The Fence Sitter
Occasionally tackles challenges, but may revert back to inaction as the heat turns up.

The Hardy Mum
As problems arise, the Mum keeps on truckin.  When the rubber meets the road, she squares her shoulders, puts her chin up and faces it head on.

Studies show that a habit can be made or broken in thirty days with even a small amount of effort.  So, how do you build resilience?

In the same way as you would build muscle: with resistance.  When you want to build strength, you’d push against a weight machine and actively engage your muscles.  Not sit on the couch and protect the muscles from harm.

So is there such a thing as resistance training for the soul?  I think so.  Try these ideas:

  • Rewind

Remind yourself how far you have come in life.  You’ve dealt with challenges before and you can deal with this challenge. Don’t let anything get you down for long.

  • Refocus your lens

Look at problems as mountains to be climbed.  You can’t climb a mountain in one giant leap; it takes small steps and perseverance.

  • Renew

Prayer, meditation, yoga… whatever it is that centers you, lean on it.

  • Remember

Don’t hold things in until they become unbearable.  Talk to friends or family and get it off your chest, but don’t dwell on it.  Most importantly, be yourself.  In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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