The Listening Booth – February 2020

From Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael, Senior Co-Minister

While pondering resilience I often think of the word “plastic.” Before “plastic” was a noun denoting materials we should recycle (or perhaps not use in the first place), the word “plastic” was an adjective. It means malleable, shapeable, moldable – resilient. Perhaps this is how we should think of Resilience: the ability to mold ourselves anew and rise again.

Resilience answers these questions: How do we steel ourselves so we bend but do not break? How do we prepare ourselves to thrive during times of crisis and danger? How do we shape ourselves to the winds of change without sacrificing crucial aspects of our character or our values?

We often think of ‘resilience’ most when we are going through bad times. As Winston Churchill once taught, “If you are going through hell, keep going!”

The word “resilience’ comes to us from Latin words meaning “to jump back,” “to rebound.” Resilience requires us to be in touch with what matters most, to find a way to preserve that, and to suffer what slings and arrows may come now so we can rise again when the dust clears. We need resilience when we want to proclaim our truth anew after the storm passes over.

Perhaps the words of Maya Angelou best display Resilience:

You may write me down in history; With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt; But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

With Faith and Resilience,

Rev. Scott