Last week I shared a photo of a haunting, yet equally beautiful path a friend and I had come across on the edges of the chalk cliffs at Dover. This week as a reflection on the strength that many of us have had to cling to in order to get through this past year, and no doubt, the strength and power needed for the next 365 days, I’m going to focus on resilience.
To me resilience is to rise after you’ve been knocked down more times than you can count. It’s baking the extra loaf of bread after 3 rounds of ruined ingredients and a messy kitchen. It’s getting up and going to some 9 am lecture across town after some bad news the night before. It’s forcing your demons to work just as hard as you are and then overcoming them in the end.
In late October I attended a poetry open mic in the basement in one of the older buildings at my university. I, surprising even myself, picked a selection to read not for the sake of performing, but simply because I felt that it deserved to be heard again. It’s a piece by a young spoken word poet by the name of Sarah Kay. I had first heard the piece for myself about 5 years ago from a TED talk. Link here: Sarah Kay’s TED Talk.
There’ll be days like this, my momma said. When you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises; when you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape; when your boots will fill with rain, and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment. And those are the very days you have all the more reason to say thank you.
– If I Should Have a Daughter, Sarah Kay
The lines above are some of my most favorite from her poem. She speaks of recognizing your burdens and then not only carrying on, but using them to see how wonderful the world truly is. We need pain to appreciate the beautiful and lovely things.
We should strive to appreciate the things which call for us to have resilience, as they possess aspects of beauty in their own right.
I’ve found my own resilience in 2016 by finding the things that give me metaphorical shade. Those are the things that give me comfort and happiness in the most trying conditions. The shade in a desert of difficulties. Writing, coffee, and spending time with Carlton and other much loved people in my life are things that I revel in when I get the chance.
I wholeheartedly encourage anyone reading this to contemplate the things and people in their lives which give them the power and comfort to be resilient and to use that to the best of their abilities in 2017.