Welcome to February and to our monthly theme of RESILIENCE.
Definitions of this word vary a bit from source to source. Some focus on the physical aspect of resilience or “elasticity,” i.e., the tendency of a thing or person to “spring back into shape.” Others mention our human ability to recover “easily” or “quickly” from difficulties, misfortunes, or “compressive stress.” Recovering easily or quickly is not the gold standard of resilience. There are times when resilience feels more like an intentional process, especially after that “compressive stress.”
We’ve all been through difficulties, hurt, grief, trauma, pain. And, yet, here we are–on the other side of that–or making our way to the other side. Consider how amazing you are–having made it through every difficult circumstance you’ve experienced in life!
Dr. Ken Ginsburg focuses on what children need to develop internal resilience. He calls his model The 7 C’s of Resilience and believes children need to see adults model the following as they develop their own resilient nature: competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control. He also speaks of the importance of modeling creativity and generosity.
Having recently gone through a fire (literally), as I take inventory of Dr. Ginsburg’s list, one of the C’s stands out for me: connection. As one who finds joy in giving, I suddenly find myself on the receiving end of others’ kindness and generosity. As I’ve said in countless sermons, my theology is one of kindness, and I believe kindness in its purest form heals us, saves us, encourages us, and has the power to heal the world and the Earth itself if we all live fully into a life of kindness.
Today, I write to thank you for the connection, kindness, and generosity you’ve offered over the last two weeks as I’ve dealt with the aftermath of a fire and the 5 inches of “rain” that was then gifted by the sprinkler system in the apartment. I grabbed a few important things on the way out–things of sentimental value. But all the rest? It’s just “stuff,” and in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Things can be replaced, and, sometimes, things don’t need to be replaced.
So, as I consider the irony of our monthly theme and my recent experience, here’s what I can say about my own resilience. Kindness is key. And I believe I’ve discovered the recipe for kindness. It consists of the following–most of which were in the church office within days of the fire:
- Sheets, pillowcases, AND a PILLOW for a donated bed.
- Six rolls of toilet tissue
- Lotion, Toothpaste, toothbrush, and toothbrush holder
- Towels and washcloths
- Cat food (two kinds) –one crunchy and one soft
- Cat scratch toy and cat litter
- A small black side table
- A blanket and a warm throw.
- Some gift cards
- Some soup, macaroni, and a House of Leng meal in the church frig
- Some veggie fried rice waiting for me in a cooler outside the sanctuary
- Some drawings and wishes along with a gift from the preschoolers
- An offer for help in the form of a truck
- A kind email offering help in any form
- A card of encouragement
- And a sermon (Special thanks to Kaarin)
I was overcome with gratitude as I discovered each of these treasures and witnessed the beauty of this beloved community in a very personal way.
So grateful to journey with you, to know you, to minister alongside you, and to be blessed by your kindness,
~Rev. Mary Frances