Up until the past year I don’t know that I’d ever given much thought to the word resiliency. I’d hummed along pretty well with a ridiculously normal childhood, great college experience and 17 stable years of marriage. I’d certainly suffered setbacks, disappointments and heartache but nothing that was truly insurmountable to recover from. Until last summer…then the “r” word started appearing.
“Children are so resilient” people would tell me. “Your tougher than you know.” “You’ll be amazed at where you are in a year.” At the time those words were well…words. Hollow, empty, useless words. Words that people say to “dress up the suck”. I was sad, lost and so very broken. I didn’t care about any of it- at least not at first.
Then I started watching my children and you know what? Children ARE resilient. They can have something terrible happen to them but they find a way to play, to laugh to continue being children. They still make messes, belly laugh, push their Mommy’s buttons and sing loudly in the car. They still are wide eyed at Christmas, go crazy with party poppers at their New Year’s party and wake you up at 6:30am by poking you in the face to tell you they love you (why must it always be the face??) Their resiliency left me amazed.
One spring evening I asked my daughter about her year (she was absolutely amazing in handling her busy life despite the loss of her Daddy.) We talked about how she was feeling and where she was emotionally (rare, special moments with a teenager). Without missing a beat she told me “I know that each morning I can choose to be sad or I can choose to be happy. I choose happy.” BAM! Choose happy.
Now I’m NOT going to go all Pollyanna on you. There have been and will continue to be some ROUGH days for all 3 people in this household. We get tired, overstressed, overwhelmed and cranky somedays. There are nights that my bedtime prayer is “Dear God help me be better tomorrow because I totally screwed up today. Amen”. I lash out, I make mistakes and I cry. However, I’m working more and more at choosing happy…to channel the resilience of my children. I’m trying to let the little junk go to focus on the big things- the things that really matter. It’s not a perfect recipe for success but more than once choosing happy has pushed me out of a funk and toward a funky dance party with my kids or a fun night out with my friends. Choosing happy has allowed me to focus on the beauty of the sky and not the vast number of weeds in my flower bed. Choosing happy has meant more runs, more laughs, a heart that is healing and less worry about tomorrow.
Elizabeth Edwards once said “Resilience is accepting your new reality even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing except scream about what you’ve lost or you can accept that and put together something that’s good.” We human beings are wired for resiliency. It comes from deep within, from unwavering faith and belief in a future that we can’t yet see.
Choose happy on the days you can and pray extra hard on the days you can’t. Be resilient.
2 thoughts on “A Lesson in Resiliency- “Choose Happy””
I am SO sorry that your blog comes from such a traumatic loss – but this is one of my favs so far !,,
Channeling your children’s “happy” is one of the most intuitive , brilliant
Realizations that you could have ever been shown!..Our family’s faith and deep rooted “keep going when the going gets rough” attitude certainly plays a role in your recovery !..Blessings to you – and your family, sweet girl – through your journey you’re leaving a bit of the pain for others who are choosing to follow along with you able to step over and carry on !!..
Heather, as always I truly loved what you have to say. You are giving me confidence that before I leave this earthly life I will discern why God put me here and what it is I am supposed to do for Him!