I hope this post finds you all well and snuggled into your homes as directed. Covid19 has hit the world like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime and has stirred many thoughts and feelings for each of us. It has raised fear and anxiety to new heights.
We will begin sharing some of our thoughts and feelings here as a means of connecting and communicating on what feels like the new normal. Some have been previously posted to our Facebook page, some posted to In the Face of Adversity at Psychology Today online., and some will come from our colleagues and guest bloggers. We welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. -Charlene Fernald Moynihan
Lessons on Resilience
“What’s the latest?” and “It could have been worse.” They seem like two small statements. But for me, they carry a huge message.
These were statement I heard from my father throughout his lifetime. In his younger years, Bernie was a strong, hardworking husband and father. He was no more perfect than the rest of us but what he did have was resilience.
Dad had Multiple Sclerosis and, at the time of his diagnosis, there were no effective treatments. His creeping disability was slow and difficult to watch. He retired early after 20 years of government service so that he and Mom could travel and enjoy life before his condition became too severe to do so.
Little by little, he lost the physical abilities that he had possessed as a younger man. With each loss he would become solemn for a short time and then declare, “It could have been worse.” and proceed to tell me how so. He reacted, as any one of us would, with grief, but it was never longstanding.
“What’s the latest?” is how he would begin most conversations. Why is this significant? It was a demonstration of his ability to be fully present, in the moment, taking each day as it comes and remaining there until the new day comes bringing a new chance to pose his question. I can only assume that his ability to stay present was what kept the grief over past losses and fears of what the future might bring at bay. In my eyes, he was the master of resilience.
I share this story because presence and the ability to maintain balance in the Covid19 environment is challenging all of us. We have no more control over it than Dad had over his disease process and yet, he managed to live a full life despite. We can manage the same. We can learn from those who have mastered the skills.