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    • #5461

      Trish Matthews

      I would like for each of you to define resilience in your own words.  Then, share a situation that required resilience from you and how that might have been an “Option B”.  Sandberg says that resilience is “the strength and speed of our response to adversity.”  And she notes that we can build it.  It comes from deep within us and from support outside us.  It comes from gratitude for what is good in our lives.  It comes from leaning into “the suck.”  It comes from analyzing how we process grief and from accepting that grief.  She notes that a key to resilience is having hope.  “Hope springs up when communities of people generate new images of possibility.” She also notes that there is collective resilience.  I believe this is something that the Oates online learning offers – a community to share and build resilience.   I also wonder if this is happening with the death of Kobe Bryant…  She then notes that to be resilient after failures, we have to learn from them.  “Most regrets are about failures to act, not actions that failed.”  “We regret the chances we missed, not the chances we took.”  So, having said all of this, talk a bit about resilience in your work or own life.

    • #5463

      Rick Underwood

      Hey Tommy, Trish, Sister Donna, and Kathy,

      I hope this week we can get on the same page with our reflections. Let’s do this week’s discussion in this thread. Just scroll below other’s posts and “Reply”.

      Trish, you ask about our definition of resilience.  The old country music song, “Give Me One More Shot” comes to mind.  We all go through loss and defeat and failure.  Often, these experiences create feelings of grief, fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  The ability to bounce back and get back in the game is my way of thinking about resilience. Below, I describe my son’s reliance after his surgery.   For me, that ability to bounce back comes from my faith and hope that things will get better.  As our author demonstrates, that is a process and not an event.

      Tommy, thanks for sharing about your loss and how silent things got around you.  That is so true as discussed in the book.  I have been guilty of doing the same thing.  And I have been the recipient. I think I mentioned my 40-year-old son’s emergency surgery and losing his 4-foot colon and appendix and in the process losing 30 pounds and all of the other things that go along with that.  While he was in the hospital, everyone rallied around.  After he got home, not so much.  Even when he goes out and people see him, there is often no questions about how he is doing today.

      The author mentions and I know research confirms that one way of bouncing back from a traumatic experience is through genuine connection to others.  Telling our story of loss over and over is so important in working through the worst part of the grief.  An older psychiatrist friend of mine was sitting in consult with a bunch of us young therapists and we were talking about grief and loss.  He interrupted us and said, “you know how I knew I was over my grief from my open heart surgery and was ready to go back and listen to others?” He said, “it was when I didn’t need to tell my story to everyone I came across.”   I’ve found that to be true in my life as well.

      I’m only halfway through the book and so she may refer back to the time when the grief was so intense that words from others only got in the way.  Recently, I sat for over an hour with a man who had just suddenly lost his wife.  He wept over her body, touching her and talking to her and it didn’t matter what, if anything others said, he was so emersed in his profound sudden shock of grief that he couldn’t or didn’t want to talk.  So, I do think it depends on the stage of grief one is in as to how open and or able they are able to talk.  As the man and his daughter were leaving the hospital, they thanked me for all I did.  I was just present.

      I do like the idea of being more specific when we ask how people are doing.  How are you and how are you today are different and distinctive.

      Thanks for reading my ramblings and I look forward to hearing more from all of you.


      P.S. I did reach out to Sister Donna and Kathy O. who are registered for the course. Sister Donna assured me sure planned to participate, but had been delayed by life getting in the way.  Kathy has been taking care of her father who has cancer and hopes to catch up with us.


      If you would like to get email notices when others respond, go to the bottom left-hand corner and click the notify me by email box.

    • #5467

      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…


    • #5592

      Laura Broadwater

      Resilience:  There is something deep in the human spirit that struggles to survive, that gives meaning to life, that finds its way out of the darkest night of the soul.  That space is where resiliency dwells.  I call that space hope.  It is the foundation on which support, family, the future, the present, all of life rests.  Variables of culture, family, roles, rules and patterns of behavior affect the speed of resiliency.  I work with a man from another culture, a collective culture.  His speed of resiliency is incredible.  I factor in the collective culture instead of the isolationism of “pick yourself up by your bootstraps,” autonomous culture.  It is challenging to find that space in some people.  A man was hospitalized for months.  He struggled with deep, dark depression.  Who would not?  He had no visitors, no family contacts.  The only people he encountered were medical people.  He was not religious.  He had been a computer programmer.  When I was paged to see this man, we worked a long time to find a sense of hope, a space of light, a place to hold on to that was safe.  Pealing away the layers of years, he found solace in a child’s song, “Jesus Loves me.”  Knowing that someone loved him for no reason, created a small spark of light which could be fanned to create hope.  He struggled to find passion.  Resiliency seems to have varied time frames, variables of environment, culture, etc.

      I watched the Ted Talk, she found her space of resiliency.  Her heart was so tender.  I see that same shock value in endocarditis patients, in spinal cord patients.  Life events do not have filters of age, race, religion, ethnicity.  Somehow in all that we encounter in life, we have to find that spot; that place of resiliency that gives us hope allowing us to get out of bed in the morning and move on from moment to moment living each moment in the fullest.

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