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Our back porch is rich with geckos.  If they are on the tree trunk they are a tan color, if they are on the green bush they are green. They rapidly adapt to their environment.  They often lose their tail when they need to escape quickly.  That loss doesn’t seem to create a slow down for them.  Adaptability is their middle name.

Our society loves things that are adaptable.  Standing desks are the greatest invention ever.  However, most of us prefer the adjustable ones, where you can sit or stand depending on the need at the moment.  Every driver’s seat is equipped with the ability to move it forward and back. Our ironing boards are adjustable.  Our washing machines adjust to the size of the load.  Even our suitcases have an extra zipper that adjust to shoving in a little more.  If we were being honest, and we won’t be, we would say we prefer our pants to be adjustable too.  We just have this preference for all things adjustable.  Even people.  People who are flexible are easier to work with and live with.  Resilience or adaptability is really a necessity for all of us.  When life throws us a curve ball (I’ve been watching the World Series), adapt.  

Very little in my life, okay, I’ll be brutally honest, nothing in my life has gone as I expected it.  And if I’d had no elasticity in my response to the unexpected, I’d be beyond shattered.  Resilience is the ability to recovery quickly from difficult conditions.  It’s just like elastic! (Come on, you know you’ve put elastic in some difficult conditions.)

To build resilience, avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems.  Highly stressful events happen.  That won’t change.  How you respond to these events can.  Take decisive actions.  Rather than detach from problems and stressors, act.  Keep things in perspective.  In the middle of painful circumstances, try to keep a long-term perspective. Take care of yourself.  Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind, body, spirit ready to deal with any situation that requires resilience.  

After 20 years of marriage and 5 children, Ninfa Rodriquez's husband died and she struggled to keep their business alive.  Rather than give up, she remodeled part of their wholesale factory into a restaurant.  A week after the remodel fire broke out.  She persevered.  As her restaurant gained popularity, she opened a second.  Later she franchised the Ninfa name, however, her rapid expansion required lots of cash.  She was not skilled in financial transactions and eventually declared bankruptcy and sold the chain. Ninfa was more interested in focusing on her blessing than cursing her failures. She coupled her vast knowledge of customer satisfaction and quality Mexican food with her new knowledge of operating with minimal debt and opened a new restaurant under a different name.  Ninfa’s resilience kept her moving forward.

How are you building resilience into your life?

Discomfort that Inspires

Three days after the Thursday ambush that left five officer’s dead in the City of Dallas, Black Lives Matter supporters and their counter-protesters walked across the dividing line and introduced themselves to each other at a protest in Northpark Center.  Those introductions led to embraces and culminated with praying together.  It turns out they had more in common than they thought, and with a little determination they decided to find that commonality.  

At the memorial service Tuesday for our fallen officers, Former President George W. Bush said, "Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.  This has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose.

In the City of Dallas, the two supposedly opposing groups Black Lives Matter and Back the Blue have decided to unite their causes and work together to close the gap that exists in our nation between races and end the violence that impacts us all.  No one is real clear on how it happened but together they found unity, hope, and a higher purpose.

In the wake of all the senseless violence we’ve seen in this nation over the past few days and weeks, you are likely sitting in front of your TV stunned.  The tragedies that are beyond words can sometimes drive us to gather the people we love and go into hiding. I’m grateful to the two protest groups who chose to leave the comfort of their home and stand up for what mattered to them.  Leaving the comfort of the line of people with whom they held common beliefs and ideas and introducing themselves to people they seemed to be opposed to was a courageous and heroic step.  I want to be like them!  

This desire to pull into our shells will not help our city, our state or our nation.  It might not even be good for our families. The comfort of familiarity kills our ability to adapt,  grow, and find new inspiration.  In light of what’s been modeled to me in Dallas, I will be intentional in stepping across the invisible lines of division and introduce myself to places that bring discomfort, so that I can be part of the solution, so that I can learn to adapt, so that I can grow and be inspired.  Will you do the same?