The song "Both Sides Now" that Judy Collins made famous did not necessarily refer to the "both-and" dialectic, which is a current phrase appropriate for our times. But the song comes to mind when we think of how the pandemic and its dire consequences are occurring across the country and the globe. These are terrible times, for sure, but at the same time, the concept of resilience has been alluded to again and again.
Think of the old bumper sticker, "Shit Happens." Everyone knew what it meant (that is, bad things happened randomly) and everyone could relate to it. But did you know that there was also a bumper sticker that was popularized in the 1990's that stated, "Grace Happens." Grace is the concept of free and unmerited goodness that is available to all. Perhaps some people relate to the concept of grace more than others. Yet, when we simultaneously think of these two bumper stickers, we can see that it is never a matter of 'either/or', but more importantly, we can see it as the 'both/and' of any situation. Bad things happen and good things happen. Simultaneously. Concurrently. Both sides now.
Thinking about this in the midst of the day-to-day hardships and challenges created by the pandemic that has caused a radical change in routines, income, predictability, control and any semblance of security and safety, we may be reminded that there is a gift being given in the midst of the pain. We can begin to entertain the world of both/and thinking.
That is what 'resilience' really is. It is not just grit and tireless motivation to overcome a difficulty when crisis or trauma occurs. Resilience is not just about returning to baseline; it is not just about bouncing back. Resilience is about become stronger or more adaptive because of new information that is integrated or learning that has occurred during the hardship. Learning is about changing behavior. It may also reflect a change in attitude or perspective that is adopted so that the capacity to be more flexible is possible.
So, this is all 'food for thought'. What is the 'grace' that you are finding in the midst of all the 'shit' that is going on in our world at this time? How are you personally being affected in negative ways and what is the positive outcome for you? What are you learning and how are you being changed? What do you want to return to and what are you ready to give up? How will you integrate this point in time in your future worldview? Have you found grace?