resilience

–Will I be interrupting you too much if I ask what you are doing?–A slight brunette drew near to the bench, cradling her dog in one hand, a yellow bag of dog doo in the other.
–Not at all–Do you live in the neighborhood?  What are you out doing on this cold day?
–I’m nursing a recent concussion.  I just moved here…I have a “bucket list.”  My son doesn’t like the name, so I call it my “Adventure List.”  One of the things on my list was to go iceskating.  I had just started classes at Western Washington University, and the next day, I went iceskating, fell and got a concussion!
–You’re really courageous to get back up and keep walking…
–It can only go up from here.  This experience has really deepened my trust.  I was giving lip service to what you call the Infinite, and this concussion has changed all of that…
–Blessed are the resilent, for they will never be broken…that’s also what this project is about…the blue knit line is resilient, cars drive over it all the time.
–I keep tearing up, this is such a moving experience for me.  I know I’m in the right place because I keep meeting people…like you.  When you do something for the joy of it, there’s real power…this is the first time that I’ve done something for the joy of it.  [taking education classes]  Do you mind if I tell you a story?
–No, please do!
–I was newly married with a child and a baby when suddenly my husband died.  I didn’t have a car–my baby rode between the handlebars, and my child rode her bike with training wheels to preschool.  I was in college, but I decided that my kids should be my first priority, so I quit classes, and started working.  I worked 17 years in Licensing, doing service for the government.  I just quit that job, not unhappily, and moved here to study education.  I want to teach literacy to preschoolers.  [Tearing up] When my son recently graduated, he turned to me and said, “Mom, now it’s your turn.”

This conversation resonated with me on many levels.  I had just finished speaking with my mentor about my fear of failing to live my dream of being a full-time artist, and she said that no matter how many times you fall down, you have to get back up again.  Successful people have had failure upon failure, but what distinguishes them is that they get back up on their feet and try again.  Failure is part of the reality of the universe.  It doesn’t mean that it will always be this hard.  If I fail, I’ll just get up again, and maybe I can tweak my approach and learn from it.  In her case, she is giving up iceskating and taking up the hammered dulcimer instead.

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