“I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.” ~ William Stafford
What did you come through in 2018? For me, it was months of grief after losing my Mom to complications associated with lung cancer in October of 2017. Whether you lost a loved one, a spouse or relationship, a group of friends, or even a beloved pet, any form of loss is traumatic and life-altering. Maybe you didn’t suffer a major loss but entered a time of transition in your life such as graduating high school and going to college. Whatever your situation today, here is what you need to know for 2019: resolutions are cheap, but resilience is priceless. Let’s say it one more time for those in the back – YOUR resilience is a pearl of great price!
According to Psychology Today, resilience is “that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and to come back at least (emphasis mine) as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been fascinated with that mythical bird, the Phoenix. This Greek avian is born again from the ashes of its previous form. I can’t help but think of the promise described in Isaiah 61:3, the promise to comfort all who mourn, “to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” so that God may be glorified!
That said, what if you’re like me? What if joy has never really been your thing? As a teen and a young woman, I struggled with depression, and later, anxiety. Mom was often the person who pulled me out of these places, whether by conversation and encouragement or her consistent prayer life on behalf of her children and others. When she passed, it was both literally and figuratively like I lost my lifeline. I didn’t really believe I could live without Mom’s earthly presence. For a season, I didn’t feel like I could ever be happy again.
Thankfully, I had my husband and children – a wonderful support system. Focusing on other loved ones and your job and responsibilities is actually a great way to start forming a parachute out of your broken pieces. My aunt shared a picture yesterday with two deer in the snow and this wisdom nugget: “The true beauty of life is not in how happy you are now, but how happy others are because of you.” You may not feel happy for a while, and that is okay. For the time being, focus on weaving the parachute and doing the things. Resilience looks like getting out of bed and going to work, showing up at the game or important events, and just basically carrying on with life.
Confession time: this blog is part of my parachute. What does your parachute look like? Is it that class you’ve been meaning to take or the gym you’ve put off joining? Is your parachute the business you’ve always wanted to start? What talents have you allowed to lie dormant? Let me encourage you today to do it afraid – great faith feels like nothing at first; it feels a lot like ashes. Remember, just because the calendar changes doesn’t mean your life will. It takes resilience and works on your part to weave the parachute, but the broken pieces of 2018 can be woven into the very thing that saves you in 2019.