Are you a resilient person?
As the demands and stresses of daily life grew over the past 20-30 years, many people felt a need to find a way to become more mentally and physically fit. We use words such as “hardy,” “robust,” “rugged,” and even “tough” to describe what we need to keep up with the pace of life.
Then came the devastating effects of COVID-19.
Like the unseen but ever-shifting tectonic plates that can cause massive earthquakes and tragic destruction, COVID-19 spread unseen from China across the face of the globe. The damage it has inflicted no doubt feels like the aftermath of an earthquake or tsunami.
It is unsettling to feel the ground move under your feet just slightly. Still, it is horrific to find physical damage to homes, businesses, etc.
The ground has not moved, but most everything else seems to have been changed by the virus.
We are in the process of the cleanup operation, but the aftershocks continue. We have to wonder if the world will ever be the way it was before the coronavirus.
Thus, the need for greater resilience!
When a natural disaster devastates a community, resilience—some like to call it “grit”—allows people to begin the recovery and rebuilding process.
You will notice in the aftermath of regional disasters that most of the time, what is rebuilt is better than what the disaster destroyed. With resilience, a disaster can be the opportunity to have a fresh start.
As tragic as the hurricanes that devastated the southeastern United States typically prove to be, an ironic result emerges. Every part of the nation has its unique beauty, with newly built areas and others that are older. Yet, some states, particularly Florida, usually look and feel relatively fresh and new.
To a considerable degree, it is because portions of that area are in a periodic state of rebuilding.
Thomas Edison’s son, Charles, says his dad made a remarkable statement to him on the evening of December 10, 1914, in West Orange, New Jersey. A massive explosion resulted in a chemical fire that leveled ten buildings, half of the research labs, belonging to Edison. It destroyed years of research and thousands of test results and documents in a matter of minutes.
As the inferno raged, Edison said to his 24-year-old son, “It’s all right. We just got rid of a lot of rubbish.”
Notable, isn’t it, that the work of a lifetime could vanish in flames and be seen as a sort of cleansing and preparation for a fresh start! “We just got rid of a lot of rubbish!”
How many people out of 1,000 or 100,000 would see it that way?
What gives birth to that view of life? Things like hope, purpose, and vision. (In the next blog, we will examine the nature of such a resilient heart.)
Insurance had not been taken out on any of the things lost in the fire because it was believed that the material from which the labs were built was fireproof.
Later that same evening, the New York Times quotes Edison as saying, “Although I am over 67 years old, I’ll start all over again tomorrow.”
The next time you turn on a light switch, watch a movie, listen to recorded music, or use anything with battery power, thank God that Edison did start over the next day.
On the night of December 10, 1914, Edison’s world changed radically for the worst. Edison went on to change the world radically for the better.
Be safe and courageous,
(from Between the Two Horizons)
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