Resilience is the ability to work with adversity in such a way that one comes through it unharmed or even better for the experience, one's ability to rebound from misfortune, hardships, and trauma. A resilient person has a tenacity of spirit; a determination to embrace all that makes life worth living. I remember hearing that word discussed frequently in graduate school. I loved the concept. Steve needed a name for one of his businesses and thus Resilient ... came to be and has since grown into several businesses.
Share your Story of Resiliency
I recall a summer morning MANY years ago. Our children were small and it had been a few months since I had turned in my driver's license. I was feeling overwhelmed and so sad. I wanted to be able to hop in the car and take my children someplace fun. I didn't want to face blindness. Steve was getting ready for work and I told him I was 'done'. I didn't want to live this way any longer and didn't feel like there was anything to look forward to -- life was just going to get worse. After reassuring him that I wasn't really 'done' just feeling so very sad, he rearranged his day so he could be back home for us to go on a family outing as soon as possible. Did we go to the zoo? the park? swimming? I don't remember.
This day was a turning point for me. As Steve left, the kids were still sleeping and I had a choice: 1. the resilient choice or, 2. to stay in what was being lost in my life. Years later, I can recall that point of choice to engage in life and choose the resilient path. There were/are some discouraging days, some frustrating days, some times of grieving additional losses, and some times of feeling so scared. However, I had a sense of purpose: a husband and two children that were counting on me. Crawling in the hole and being 'done' just wasn't an option. I could embrace life one day at a time and find joy in the moment and even find humor in my situation. I remembered a lady that walked everywhere when I was growing up. I realized that would be me! I am not a creative person from the sense of creating beautiful handmade items, but I can be creative in generating alternatives in getting a task done or finding an option to get to the desired destination. During this transition time, my sense of identity was stretched and the result a freeing place to be ... ME (that continues to learn and grow). Relationships became such an important part of my journey. To talk to others that were experiencing vision loss is still a helpful support and grateful for all my friends and mentors. I had to learn that some I thought would be there for me couldn't and others were such a delightful surprise as they became dear friends.
Experiences come up in our journey that stretch us - like an elastic band and we can fight it and break or gain from that power of the stretch. When the stretch is gone, we are an even more beautiful 'elastic band' with some stretch marks. (How's that for an analogy?)
I sometimes reflect on who I would be without the characteristic of blindness in my life. I don't know - would my motto: Live my life with Passion and Compassion be different? Blindness is an incredible teaching tool that sometimes I don't want to learn from, however, most days I am filled with such joy and gratitude for my life and who I am. My eyes have worked hard for me. I have learned to love them and accept they are a fascination for a new opthalmology resident doctor to look at. Recently I came home from a busy day at the office to a newsletter that had the following on the front page:
"Imagine visiting your eye doctor and receiving a prescription for a pill or an eye drop that stops your vision loss. That day is closer to becoming a reality."
Okay .. we shall see and I am happy without this statement occurring. Life is good. RP is just part of my journey.
I reflect back on my day sitting on the stairs, and I can empathize when someone is sitting on the stairs in their journey and just wants to be done. Sometimes we climb a few stairs and then need to sit back down and catch our breath. My life is rich, full and busy and there is not much time to sit on the stairs; however I am reminded of the importance of taking time to sit down celebrating the stairs that have been climbed and supporting ourselves before we resume the climb. Sometimes it is a totally different setback that puts me sitting on a stair for a while ... before the resilience kicks in and we are climbing again. That's okay. To me, part of being resilient is listening and honoring the push AND yield. We need the balance.
I chose the picture below for this post for a few reasons. We are in front of my 'friendship garden'. When we moved, friends brought flowers from their gardens including some from our previous home. They represent love and support that has been there for me. These deep purple flower which I can't recall the name represents resilience to me. They are so beautiful and hardy. They are determined and will grow anywhere.
I LOVE these shoes. They are Naturalizer, super comfortable and have a 2 inch heel. My black skirt is a combination of rayon, spandex, and nylon - super comfortable and dog hair does not stick at all to it. Passes the Cricket test. My necklace is from a dear friend that has loved me through my journey and makes sure she calls for our monthly lunch date. I love this button up shirt and could have one in every color if possible.
If you made it to the end of this long post, please share your story with me. Your story or RESILIENCE can help someone else. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I remember one of the first women I met with Retinitis Pigmentosa. She was a successful therapist!