Rev. Wayne Walder: Resilience

by Reverend Wayne Walder

When I arrived at the cottage for the holidays and turned the water on, a difficult-to-reach valve on the water filter was leaking … a lot. It was losing about a quart an hour. That was enough to overflow any bucket. I tried to tighten the valve; I put goop on the valve; I prayed on the valve; and none of these worked. I never expected to have to rebuild the 100 pound water filter when I arrived. I did not have the tools or the parts with me to rebuild that human–sized filter. I didn’t even know it would leak.

I could have been angry about the leak; it was taking my time and effort and I had other things to do. I might have been frustrated with my failed efforts to make it work! I might have felt that life was not fair. I was cold, dirty and tired.

But I took a breath, and began to adjust to the new reality in front of me. Still breathing thoughtfully, I found some nylon straps that would allow me to move the slippery big filter. I drained all the water, a second time, so I’d make less mess. I took the base of the filter apart and found an easy-to-replace pipe. The next day I got the pipe in a plumbing store and rebuilt the filter. When I turned on the water, it only dripped a little bit. (As of now I hope it will have stopped.)

Then I felt great about the water being on and house being dry.

This year our first theme is resilience. We chose resilience because we thought it was an important spiritual skill. By being resilient we can adjust our insights in a world that is rapidly changing and we can adjust our spiritual expectations when reality shows itself differently.

We need resilience for more than the spiritual, too. We need it to adjust to the politics of a very confused world. We need it to keep ourselves positive in a world filled with fear. And we need to have resilience to keep working toward goals we might never see realized.

Resilience is not compromising or settling. It is simply changing how we see the world. It is changing our strategy so we can change our expectations and our plans.

Every successful plan, every successful strategy needs adjustment. Resilience reminds us to make adjustments, let go of expectations and move our bodies and our minds as we react to changes.

Healing is part of resilience and so is love. Often the new perceptions resilience leads us to are better than the old leaky ones we had.


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