Resilience looks like this:
Imagine waking up and hearing your wife and kids talking in the kitchen. Mostly it’s friendly banter, but because your son got up early he’s now past the point of needing food and has crossed over into full blown hungry-stupid meltdown.
All you want to do is roll over and go back to sleep, because the thick, warm arms of depression are caressing you today. Staying thick and stupid and sad can be so enticing and addictive, but you decide to get out of bed anyway and try defuse the meltdown.
A few tender moments, including a fleeting cuddle with your wife, and the day starts looking happier. Shortly after, the family dresses and starts walking to the beach for some fresh air and exercise.
Another meltdown kicks off because the handlebars of son’s scooter are at the wrong height. The inner struggle you felt to even get out the door has been successfully masked so far. When your daughter takes off with the scooter, and you read the scenario wrong, it causes a whole new batch of arguing and meltdowns.
You elect to stay home, apart from the three you love most while they get outdoors. An angry SMS conversation adds salt to an already raw wound. Tensions boil and both parents yell how they’re sick of this and can’t take much more. Breaking point appears like the shadowy silhouette of land on the ship’s horizon.
A calm moment of reflection would show that the prevailing undertone of anger and frustration is a side effect of stress and despair in both parents and kids due to chronic uncertainty. Where is our home? How do we live? What does peace and consistency feel like again?
Questions like these are underscored by much larger, simpler question: What the fuck are we doing? Why have we chosen possibly the hardest road on offer?
In the dark, difficult moments, resolve falters and alternatives like “Just get a job and do what everyone else is doing” become seductive and alluring.
But if not you, then who? If not now, then when? And best of all, would you be able to live with yourself if you compromised on your ideals, dreams, mission?
Resilience looks like this.
Lots of difficult days that no one sees, sometimes not even your spouse. Lots of doubtful moments that are overcome, one by one. Lots of tough decisions that, collectively, take you so far from the well trodden path it sometimes feels like you can’t see six inches in front of your own feet.
Resilience is not pretty. It is a constant battle between what you want and the easy option. It is the inner flame that flickers and threatens to go out every single day, yet somehow finds the fuel to keep burning, however dim its light.
Resilience is finding the motivation to leave the house and catch up with your family – despite, or maybe even because of your fear/fury/despair/heartache – and then sitting with a smile while watching your wife and daughter have sprinting competitions as your son builds castles of sand.
Resilience, like most things, is not easy. But if you can find it, it is worth it.