Throughout the month of February we are exploring the theme of resilience. This month we honor that life can be difficult: we encounter challenges, suffer loss, experience trauma, and witness to the pain of others. At times, these experiences break us, and at others time, break open our hearts. Resilience is about what we do with these life transforming experiences: how we make meaning from them, heal, and integrate them. Although our culture teaches that resilience is an individual pursuit, it is both about the resources we discover inside ourselves, and the loving support we receive from our families, communities, and from the spirit of life and love. Together we will explore: What helps us to be resilient? Theme-based ministry connects worship, religious education and small group experiences so that we are having a shared conversation across the generations. Come, join us to deepen our faith together.

crocus in snow symbolizing resilience

Reflections on Resilience:

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.  In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
–Maya Angelou

“If you need to fall apart, then do —
for Life will hold you in that,
will teach you how to desiccate and blow away
and then will call you back from the four corners of the earth
and will renew you with the water
of the tears of others
who
like you
weep for all that is lost.
She will breathe back into you
the breath that washes from the mouths of children laughing
from the lion’s roar.”
Rev. Audette Fulbright Fulson

“If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces.”
Shane Koyczan

Focus: 

The practice of moving from “Why did this happen?” & “This is not fair” to
“What can I do now?” & “Look at what’s left.”

The practice of trusting one step at a time.

Spiritual Practice:

Root Your Resilience in Beauty:
“In my own worst seasons, I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon… until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.”
– Barbara Kingsolver

Resilience is about more than “digging deep.” Sources of resilience lie around as much as within. The sources of resilience that are around us stimulate the strengths of resilience within us. Nothing does this better than beauty. It’s one of the most sacred forms of magic: Stare at something beautiful and slowly inner strength arises.

So this month, make some room in your life for this magic. Your instructions are simple: Stare at a single glorious thing each day for at least a week! 

It can be the same glorious thing or you can seek out a different one each day. It’s the “staring” that is the really important part. Give it your attention long enough to sink in. You will know when you are done; your body will tell you.  And don’t get caught up in what “glorious” means. As Kingsolver affirms, a geranium is as glorious as the crescent moon.

Taking It Home:  Ideas for All Ages

Resilience in Persisting through Difficulty – Puzzles
Many-pieced puzzles might seem tedious or intimidating to young people but getting offered one task–collecting the blue pieces, or the edge pieces, or working on one small section, for example–whilst other family members work on their own tasks can make the endeavor manageable and fun. It also demonstrates how all of us are piecing together the mystery of living, together–none of us alone. And what a sense of accomplishment you all share when it’s finally finished!

Find an ambitious but manageable puzzle for your family to tackle; for my family with kids ranging from age 5 to 14, an eye-catching 500 piece puzzle is about right for everybody to be inspired to pitch in. Some families make the puzzle a one-evening event, and others set it up somewhere out-of-the-way where it can be left up so that people can drop in and out of the activity.

Stories Used In Worship and Classes This Month

The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by Levar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
One by Kathryn Otoshi

Musical Connection

STJ#1030, Siyahamba
Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fi-zd2k8wgQ
Commentary:  “On October 29, 1999, former Archbishop Desmond Tutu officially presented President Mandela the five volumes of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) . . . a choir was present at this formal gathering and broke into joyful song. Then, before a global audience, Mandel a and Tutu danced in celebration, not because the recovery from apartheid was complete- far from it. . . They danced in the hope that the songs that had carried them this far along the “long walk to freedom (The title of Mandela’s autobiography) would sustain them in the difficult days ahead when political change would hopefully lead to change in the attitudes and lives of people.” https://www.choristersguild.org/userfiles/MA_TeachResources/Siyahamba.pdf

Theme Connection: May we capture the spirit of resilience in the face of injustice as Mandela and Tutu did.

Soul Matters Spotify Music Playlists:
Discover musical inspiration on each of our themes through monthly playlists:  https://www.soulmatterssharingcircle.com/spotify-lists.html

Join us to deepen our faith together:

  • Explore resources related to the monthly theme (links above)
  • Attend Sunday worship
  • Sign up for small group ministry (Soul Matters Sharing Circles and Chalice Circles)
  • Request a copy of Soulful Home (thematic resources for families)
  • Join our Parent Group (to discuss the themes in relation to parenting)

Resources on this page adapted from Soul Matters January 2020.