Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.
There are a few things wrong with Elizabeth Edwards’ view of things. For example: I don’t think you have to, or even can, always accept a new reality – but you can learn to live with it; then: it’s hard to say if a new reality is less good rather than, in a strange and surprising way, maybe even better than the one we had before, or we expected for our future.
But she is right when she says that there is no point in kicking and screaming about something we won’t be able to change; that we should make the best out of what we’ve got – which mightn’t be as bad as it seems at first sight.
Pádraig received a late Christmas present, a cool t-shirt with a saying in Irish written on it, when he came back to the An Saol Centre after Christmas. He smiled and was as happy as I had seen him in some time. It was contagious. No words could have expressed a warmer thank you, gratefulness, and appreciation. Here were people who mattered to each other. They were deeply connected and understood each other without a word spoken.
During the week, I came across another quote I found tremendously funny. It’s by Gillian Flynn who wrote Dark Places. It describes in a brilliant way how we should deal with situations and people who cause us trouble for no reason; who do not connect with us at all; who completely lack common sense and seem to thrive causing havoc in our lives.
I am not angry or sad or happy to see you. I could not give a shit. You don’t even ripple.
While I like the attitude, I haven’t managed to practice it fully. People and their actions still ripple for me too often. But I’m working on it.
Like the lack of respect, the lack of care, the lack of common sense so blatantly evident in the treatment of those who cannot speak up for themselves.
And my inability to change any of it.
Thing is: those ripples are distracting, to say the least. At times, I find them infuriating. `They always suck up our energy.
A doctor throwing bones from their patient’s skull into the bin and sharing that with his patient’s parents. A rehabilitation expert asking for evidence of the benefits of physical exercise. A minister not answering letters and messages sent to them. A physiotherapist saying that a wheelchair for a patient in their care should not be provided because of the severity of their injuries. A judge resolving differences between a family and a care facility by making the family’s child a ward of court, removing all rights from the child and the family.
We should not be angry or sad, and surely not happy, to see them. We will never change them. Any time spent trying to make them see reason and justice are a waste of time. They should not even ripple.
Instead, we should do the best we can for those we live with. Spend our time, efforts, and energy for their benefit.
Yesterday was, for a while, a really nice sunny winter’s day.
It’s Swan Lake in Dublin. In this case, the Royal Canal.
Just the Auld Triangle going jingle jangle all along the banks of the Royal Canal.