In recent months I’ve taken a pretty narrow approach to the devotionals. I’ve written almost exclusively on spiritual matters. This month, I’m going to try something new. I’m going to broaden the scope and try to expose you all to other people and what they’re saying on all matters recovery. Each day I’ll give a link to an article or video and provide some brief commentary.
My thoughts: I’m not crazy about the language in this video. They describe resilience as, “The strength and speed of our response to adversity.” This definition sort of implies that it’s good to be strong enough to deal with adversity quickly. The longer I work with suffering people, the less interested I am in abstract notions of strength and speed in recovery. Strength is a word that has very little meaning to me. More often than not, we use “strength” to mean that we are not grossly affected by something. A “strong” person, so this logic goes, does not have a big reaction to adversity and can quickly and calmly go about life. That vision of life does not interest me because it suggests we’re never getting close enough to the reality of our life experience to be vulnerable. Resilience is not about simply returning to normal, as if we can hit the “reset” button on the Nintendo to put us back to the beginning of the game.
To me, strength, in recovery, is about the willingness to sit in the reality of our adversity. We refuse to pretend. Tragedy is tragedy, and we are going to sit in our experience of it even if this means battling depression for a time (even if it means battling depression for a long time). Resilience, in this context, is about the willingness to seek help to learn to process and cope. It’s about learning to share and learning to let others love us. If this is what is meant by strength and speed, then that’s okay by me. Otherwise, I find other, more specific, terms more useful.