|Matt W. Moore fund-raising poster for RESILIENCE JAPAN 2011.|
Illness, accident, nature run amok, reversal of fortune, abuse, neglect. The human condition, life, has built-in pitfalls, opportunities to abandon ourselves as we have, perhaps, been abandoned. That we prevail by any definition is remarkable. This is not to compare trauma or pain. Bad things are bad things. We have grown up with examples of how uneven the portions seem to be. New ones emerge almost daily, if we pay attention. The point is, we are still here. Even if there have been months, years, when just getting out of bed in the morning seemed overwhelming, eventually we got up. Sometimes we got dressed, combed our hair, got to a 12-step meeting, got in the car and drove away from a life that would have killed us if we let it.
I am writing this because I think we underestimate our strength. Or, should I say, I think I underestimate mine. There are so many fronts for which I feel ill-equipped, failing to take into account the fact that I am still here. I allow unsorted piles (of valuable resource material shuffled in with useless rubbish) and frightening deposits of dust to outrank the fact that I do not actively seek to make the world a worse place. I have an old habit of magnifying what I will call shortcomings and undervaluing the fact that I reside on the planet in a state of frequent humor, kindness, joy and hope. The journey to this place may seem, seen from the outside, to be one of comfort and privilege, ease. The peril has certainly been greater for some than others. That does not make our own unique resilience of any less value. Does it matter whether the heart of our security has been taken by a hurricane or undermined over time by termites of addiction and terror?
If you have ever survived anything that you thought would sink you but didn't you are a member of the club. We all understand I am not talking about the day your hair didn't turn out in the back. If you managed to escape with a portion of your soul or body intact, surviving attacks that would have robbed you of either or both, you may need to see yourself anew. Some are heroic in public. Their models give us courage. Some of us are brave in more private ways, our stories untold, unacknowledged even to ourselves. This seems as good a day as any to claim, to embrace strength we have downplayed for too long. At least promise me you'll think about it. I'll do the same.