Trish Matthews

Thanks so much for sharing, Rick.  I like what you are saying about resilience being the ability to “bounce back.”  And how we as chaplains and caregivers need to be sensitive to where people are in their own grief process.  I do find in the Living With Cancer group that I lead that you are right on when you talked about how people heal as they share their story over and over again.  We learn about ourselves and grow as we share our story!  And as we listen to the stories of others!  Perhaps this is akin to the “post traumatic growth” Sandberg talks about.  I also appreciate how you recognized that the community is good about coming around in a crisis, but then drops off.  I have found that as well in my own experience of having cancer, even with my own family.  I felt surrounded by love and presence during the months of surgery and chemo, but now everything has pretty much gone back to pre-cancer normal.  Except that I am left with the fear that the cancer could come back and ongoing medical appointments and tests.  But I do hold the love I experienced in the past year in a special place in my heart.  I like what Kate Bowler said – that the feelings might go away but they leave an imprint.  If you haven’t heard of Kate, you might check out her YouTube video from her book “Everything Happens for a Reason…  And Other Lies I’ve Loved.”  Here is a link:

Kate shares with humor and tears about her own diagnosis of cancer and what she has found to be helpful things to say – and not so helpful.  You will enjoy this clip and maybe it will spur you on to read her book.

I had a situation of resilience at work I would like to share as well.  I am one of the longest tenured chaplains in our 14 hospital system.  I have a doctorate and most of our other chaplains do not.  So several years ago when our system wide department made the decision to have mid level chaplain directors to oversee the managers, I wanted to be one of them.  I felt I had “earned” the right.  But I was told it would not be at my hospital and if I chose to apply and got the job I would take the job of a colleague.  This did not feel right to me.  I argued for the positions to go to the right candidates and they do the job from their current hospital so as to not displace anyone, but was told that was not the decision.  So I did not apply.  I struggled for a good while with feeling unheard, undervalued, and wanting to leave.  I think through my year of cancer I was able to let all of that go and appreciate that I work in a place where I am valued and loved, even if our “system” has not promoted my experience.  I am now reporting to a former colleague, which has been very awkward, but through which I have “bounced back” to a place of gratitude for my work and for our friendship.  He just happened to be at the right hospital at the right time.  All of this to show how important resilience is at work as well.  And how it is not an overnight thing at all but takes time.  I think the mark of growth in resilience is when it takes less time to bounce back – do you agree?

Just my Wednesday thoughts…