A huge pine tree beside our driveway blocked the view of oncoming cars. This week I resolved to prune it back so we could see. Friday night a powerful thunderstorm did the work for me. It tore off a three foot diameter limb and deposited it in the road.
As usual, I slept through the storm, so I didn’t notice no one could get by the huge limb. But I didn’t have to. Our self-organized community marshaled chain saws and a front end loader to clear the road. Meanwhile the storm had blown down power lines and poles and the whole region had no power.
But our local electric cooperative went right to work. Less than 24 hours later, we all had power. Everything was back to normal, except that we appreciated our community a little bit more.
Gratefulness is one characteristic of resilient people. I try to express thanks often for the many folks who help me have everything I need. No one is an island. Even the most self-made man built his life on the foundations laid by others.
Our wind and lightning was nothing compared to the traumas others have endured. How did some people endure 9/11 and make New York an even better place afterward? How do some people survive and thrive in challenging and high stress jobs like the US Special Forces? Severe earthquakes? Being a prisoner of war? Those who survived these challenges and subsequently thrived have been studied by many.
One research group has concluded that ten qualities are present in such resilient people:
facing fear, having a moral compass, drawing on faith, using social support, having good role models, being physically fit, making sure your brain is challenged, having ‘cognitive and emotional flexibility, having ‘meaning, purpose and growth’ in life and ‘realistic’ optimism.
Several of my older friends contend that a good church will help you have most of these. Too bad our churches don’t focus a little more on exercise of the body and brain and cognitive flexibility. Then they’d produce even more resilience.
All I know is that this weekend started with a huge thunderstorm, a blocked road and no power. Now it’s Sunday morning and thanks to a lot of resilient people, my community is back to enjoying life and getting ready for church.
For personal resilience in good times and bad, click this link for more insight.