Have you ever had a word or phrase come to you over and over again? From completely different angles? 

Recently it seems everywhere I turn, every book I read, and even in random conversations the word Resilient keeps popping up. 

Even though I know what resilience means, I looked it up in the dictionary for a more definitive explanation. 

According to Webster, resilience means:

  1. capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture
  2. tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

Am I resilient according to this definition? Or do I just come across as resilient to people looking at me from the outside? 

Recover from change? No. Recovery implies that you return to how you were before. I’m not sure that is a good definition for a person.

Adjust easily? Easily? Not really, but I do adjust. Maybe it looks easier than I think it feels. 

I don’t believe that when you have been through a cancer diagnosis or the loss of a spouse that you really recover. I will never be the person I was before each of those events happened. Adjust – Yes, Recover – No.

Instead, I feel like I have been reshaped. And most days I’m still trying to figure out what that new shape is. But maybe the best way to describe it is that I get up, look in the mirror and ask what shape are we today. Some days, I’m not going to lie, the shape is a blob. Others it can be a square with sharp edges and others a circle where I can let things roll off of me. So I guess that makes me a shape-shifter. I can make myself into the shape necessary to meet the needs of the day most of the time. 

After some self-reflection, I guess resilient is the best way to understand how I have gotten from point A (original cancer diagnosis) to point T(oday) – [I have had many points in between and hate to think that I am at point Z because I’m not finished bouncing back or reshaping]. 

So what makes someone resilient? 
For me, I think it has been:

  1. Having a community around me that is loving and supportive. For example, friends that will come to the hospital at 10 pm if I call and ask, or will come sit with me in a waiting room waiting to hear the latest test results.
  2. Being vulnerable with those around me. Allowing people to see what is going on and not hiding from the bad stuff.
  3. Having a grateful attitude towards life, no matter what life has thrown at me. For example, I am grateful for the 23 plus years with my husband of love and laughter.
  4. Having HOPE – I have written about hope before (here’s an oldie). Hope gives me the ability to look forward and not back. Hope has allowed me to live for the future instead of looking to the past.

Perhaps this is why I am so drawn towards butterflies. The butterfly symbolizes endurance, change and hope.

I’ve often wondered why people are interested in my story. I’ve struggled to understand what I have learned or what wisdom I have to offer others. Maybe it is the resilience factor.