Learning Resilience - Sunday, May 17, 2015
Nobody seeks out suffering. And yet it is one of life’s great ironies that the moments that make us feel weakest often reveal our hidden strengths. We don’t really know what we can endure until we are forced to endure it. Yale University professor Steven Southwick believes that “most of us are a lot more resilient than we think.”1 He compares us to a green tree branch—it may not seem as strong as a more mature, rigid limb. But in a strong wind it’s the green branch that survives, bending but never breaking.
That’s easy to forget when the winds of life seem to be tossing us about. Resilient people know they can’t stop the storm, but they can decide how they react to it. They can take charge of their present and therefore their future. Whatever the challenge may be—a financial crisis, poor health, a conflict in the family or other relationships—they do their best to continue.
One middle-aged woman learned about her own resilience when her husband died, followed shortly thereafter by serious health problems of her own. The string of difficulties seemed unending, but she just carried on—one hour, one day, one week at a time. It wasn’t easy, but it became easier with the passing of time.
And that’s the other hidden blessing of suffering: those experiences that seem to be weakening us are actually, in many cases, not only revealing our strength but also increasing it. They require resilience, but at the same time they teach us resilience. They prompt us to develop a more optimistic view by cultivating friendships with positive people. They move us to challenge our negative thoughts and strive for a larger perspective. They can even inspire us to reach out to others in love and kindness, which always helps us feel better. Ultimately, our trials can lead us to trust that God is in His heaven and that He can help us get through the heartache—and come out of it stronger than we ever thought we could be.
1. In Clare Ansberry, “Resilience Can Be Learned,” Wall Street Journal, Mar. 25, 2015, D1, D3, www.wsj.com/articles/after-loss-how-to-learn-resilience-1427225009.
May 17, 2015
Broadcast Number 4,470
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Sing Praise to Him
Traditional hymn tune; arr. Mack Wilberg
Lovely Appear, from The Redemption
Prelude on “All Things Bright and Beautiful”
Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’, from Oklahoma!
Richard Rodgers; arr. Arthur Harris
Carole Bayer Sager and David Foster; arr. William Ross
I Believe in Christ
John Longhurst; arr. Mack Wilberg