Flowing with seasons is a demonstration of personal resilience. Stiff necked resistance can kill you.
Our live oak tree is massive and overshadows both our house and our shop. When the latest hurricane threatened, we worried those weighty branches would crash down on us. But wiser, older friends reminded us that this tree has withstood stronger storms than this for at least a hundred years.
Giving it second thought, I acknowledge that this sizable tree only remains because of its resilience and flexibility in the storm. It’s heart bends and gives in the wind so its core does not break. Yes it needs to be pruned and dead weight removed so it can lift its arms up high, but in the end, if it was not giving and receiving when the winds come it would not be standing to remind us of old wisdom today.
Giving and receiving. Bending and bouncing.
We’re a year and a half into the most trying of times, marked by global pandemic. The strain of this storm has been dramatically on our heads as a family and the persistent pressure often worries me. Will the branches of our lives break off and crash down? Will destruction win and as a family we lay down in defeat?
No, not yet at least. We are still standing. We are living and breathing and so we have the benefit of this one thing common to all living creatures: resilience.
Lately, I have often contemplated this virtue of resilience (Is it considered a virtue? It should be.) This ability to give and bend and bounce back (or at least not break) is like gold. From the regenerative power of cells during the natural healing process, to the power of time and perspective, resilience is an underlying stream we can dip into in times of need.
When I’m strained by frustration, and feel the quiet snapping of a break beginning to happen, I remind myself that this deep water is there, just under the surface, and available for me draw up. I remind myself I don’t have to break – I am alive and I still bend. So standing, stretching my muscles, releasing the stiffness and breathing deeply I give my mind permission to spin down.
I breath a prayer. I look in the mirror and remind myself I’m ok – its ok. I’m still alive and so I am resilient.