Resilience as a Spiritual Strength

We try to find strength of spirit to carry on when faced with adversity—or even just in the day-to day struggle to stay focused and productive. Resilience, says one expert, reflects a “character of personhood and quality of community that faces difficulty and stays in touch with purposeful life and meaningful relationships.” It is also valuable as a proactive resource.

by Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister
Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church, Bainbridge Island & Greater Kitsap County, WA
— February 5, 2012 —

In any community and on any individual path there will be struggles, adversity, trials of one sort or another. Such is life. The strengths we muster to face any challenge come from deep within us. When pushed, our individual hearts and the heart of a community often draw from the resources that we have collected, the inspirations that guide us, during times easy and hard.

Resilience would seem to be a valuable quality—spiritual or otherwise—to bring to the fore, certainly when challenge knocks us for a loop, but also as a healthy, proactive part of one’s life. I agree with Gigi Leach, that stasis or merely recovering from adversity is not progress. I’m convinced that using a lens of resilience can help us strengthen both our individual and collective paths forward, especially if, as seems likely, the 21st century will continue to throw the weight of the world at us in ways that we don’t expect—or at least don’t want to expect.

Read the whole sermon (PDF)