Sunday, February 8, 2004
ONE of my fondest memories as a child is going by the river and sitting idly on the bank. There I would enjoy the peace and quiet, watch the water rush downstream, and listen to the chirps of birds and the rustling of leaves in the trees. I would also watch the bamboo trees bend under pressure from the wind and watch them return gracefully to their upright or original position after the wind had died down.
When I think about the bamboo tree's ability to bounce back or return to it's original position, the word resilience comes to mind. When used in reference to a person this word means the ability to readily recover from shock, depression or any other situation that stretches the limits of a person's emotions.
Have you ever felt like you are about to snap? Have you ever felt like you are at your breaking point? Thankfully, you have survived the experience to live to talk about it.
While in that situation you would have felt a mix of emotions that threatened your health. Perhaps you felt emotionally drained, mentally exhausted and endured unpleasant physical symptoms.
Life is a mixture of good times and bad times, happy moments and unhappy moments. The next time you are experiencing one of those bad times or unhappy moments that take you close to your breaking point, bend but don't break. Try your best not to let the situation get the best of you.
A measure of hope will take you through the unpleasant ordeal. With hope for a better tomorrow or a better situation, things may not be as bad as they seem to be. The unpleasant ordeal may be easier to deal with if the end result is worth having.
If the going gets tough and you are at your breaking point, show resilience. Like the bamboo tree, bend, but don't break.
Breaking the silence
"How did you do it, Dad? How have you managed to not take a drink for almost 20 years?" It took me almost 20 years to have the courage to even ask my father this very personal question. When Dad first quit drinking, the whole family was on pins and needles every time he got into a situation that, in the past, would have started him drinking again. For a few years we were afraid to bring it up for fear the drinking would begin again.
"I had this little poem that I would recite to myself at least four to five times a day," was Dad's reply to my 18-year-old unasked question. "The words were an instant relief and constant reminder to me that things were never so tough that I could not handle them," Dad said. And then he shared the poem with me. The poem's simple, yet profound words immediately became part of my daily routine as well.
About a month after this talk with my father, I received a gift in the mail from a friend of mine. It was a book of daily affirmations with one affirmation listed for each day of the year.
It has been my experience that when you get something with days of the year on it, you automatically turn to the page that lists your own birthday.
I hurriedly opened the book to November 10 to see what words of wisdom this book had in store for me. I did a double-take and tears of disbelief and appreciation rolled down my face. There, on my birthday, was the exact same poem that had helped my father for all these years. It is called the serenity prayer and it goes like this:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."
(Barry Spilchuk, A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul)
(From the Net)