Relationship Resilience

There are moments in my life when time appears to stand still; when my mind's eye recognizes it as one to remember and files it away, forever becoming a moment stored in that special compartment for when all else fails to bring me back to myself.  

My compartment is marked pure joy and I feed from it as freely as possible. Hidden in it are lifetime moments such as the day I learned to ride a bike, the day my softball team won the championship, the day my husband proposed to me, and the time my son and I ran and laughed freely in the pouring rain.  All of them captured with one snapshot in my mind, all of them a special time in a unique relationship.  

Our human existence is strongly comprised of relationships, each of them possessing different characteristics, each important for us in different ways.  Those we have with parents, children, spouses, siblings, and friends all impact the relationship with have with ourselves and together can provide just enough strength to help us bounce back from adversity. 

The American Psychological Association’s article entitled The Road to Resilience lists 10 ways to build resilience with the first on the list being “make connections.”  

Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience.

While all of these connections are uniquely important, I am writing today about the relationship between "girlfriends"  - the bond between women. Most women likely know what I mean; it’s the unspoken understanding we maintain with one another – the connection we have that reminds us we are all in this together.  This, being life.

I have been blessed in recent years with some amazing women in my life, all of whom have made me better because of their ability to bounce back.  I had the opportunity to spend some time with a few of them this past weekend when a group of us got together at a local winery where we ate pizza, drank wine, and laughed until our hearts nearly exploded.  Having previously written about the power of laughter, the importance of this moment was not lost on me.  The bond I experience with these women is unspoken and unparalleled; each of us bound together by different circumstances, but all with one thing in common: sheer resiliency.  

Together, all four of us brought to the table immeasurable pain, unspeakable abuse, and unfathomable loss.  Yet, there we were - laughing as though everything was right in the world.  Even for a moment. 

How can this be?  How can we possibly move forward, far from a past that could define us? 

Having others who, through their strength, remind us of our own desire to keep going, to get better, to believe in hope even when it feels far from reach, has afforded us the chance to land in this completely and utterly joyful place.  When I am with these women, I am reminded of their strength, and then - of mine.  I recognize the overcoming power we all possess, simply by being human, and even more - by being human together.  

Each healthy connection in our life is a thread we weave together with others, creating a beautiful quilt to comfort and protect us from the harsh cold of the world.  

May you be blessed with enough of these threads to keep you warm.    

If you would like to learn more ways to intentionally build your own resilience, read The Road to Resilience here: