Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
Mahatma Gandhi

We have been exploring the subject of Resilience – bouncing back from hardship, adversity and trauma. Our last several posts have explored different ways we may be able to adapt to the challenges and difficulties in our lives. Based on an article in Psychology Today, “I Get Knocked Down – But I Get Up Again”, the next tip is:

Know This Too Shall Pass

Research suggests most people recover from most losses and most traumas most of the time. Yet being aware of this rarely spares us from suffering when such losses and traumas occur. —Alex Lickerman, M.D., “Happiness in This World”

Since it started, it hasn’t stopped.

The ground rumbles. A deafening roar. Foundations shake. Buildings fall. People die.

In Christchurch, New Zealand it’s been going on since February 2011. Two and a half years of destruction, setting everyone on edge. It’s trauma – physical, emotional and spiritual – that will not end.

When we spoke with them on Skype yesterday, we heard their stories and were moved. Our friends Raewynne and Sharlie shared eloquently of what it’s been like. Of the close friends they’ve lost. The terror they felt when the first quake hit. The constant aftershocks. The calls in the middle of the night from those needing someone to tell their fear and horror to.

They told us about their city and the tens of thousands of people who have fled it since it all began. They grieve for the lives that were lost. They remember the landmarks no longer there. They live in a very different city now where the ground can suddenly open up and swallow them. For too many it already has. They fear driving at night because they never know if the road will disappear in an instant and devour the car. They keep their children and grandchildren close by; they never know when another one will come and they may not be with them to protect or reach them for hours or days. Loss is so much a part of every life now, much more than ever before. Homes. Jobs. Security. Peace. Each other. All have been disappearing much too often, much too quickly in the last couple of years.

Raewynne and Sharlie are suffering. The losses and the traumas have simply piled up and still keep coming. We can hear it in their voices. We can see it in their eyes. We can read it in their words when they write to us. These last years have been a time of deep hurt and profound fear. Survivor’s guilt. Constant uncertainty. Waiting for the next one. It takes its toll.

Yet …

… they persevere. They don’t give up. They find ways to laugh, to celebrate. They rely on their faith in goodness and grace beyond themselves. They hold those they love closer. They love ever stronger, ever more. They embrace the life they have, knowing it is so fragile, so precious, so miraculous.

And they listen.

They listen to the cries of their friends, opening themselves to the mournful expressions of their hearts. They support. They encourage. They pray. They hold hands. They wipe tears. They touch souls with a message of compassion and comfort.

They have an indomitable will, a strength that lifts them up and soothes the troubled spirits all around.

We are privileged to know them, to call them our friends.

(Read this for the latest story of hope from our friends’ hometown)