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O is for Offering - An A-Z Guide to Resilience

Updated: Mar 21, 2023

After five years I am beginning to accept I may never recover. But to my surprise, I have gained more than I have lost.

There comes a point in everyone’s life journey when the rug will be pulled from under our feet. We will suddenly lose someone we cannot go on without, our ability to function will dramatically decline, the foundations of our life will crumble.

It feels like the end, and in one sense it is. It is the end of freedoms we should have never taken for granted.

But in another sense it is the beginning.

In our ongoing pain, our senses are attuned to the suffering that lies all around us, our essential human condition. Something we are aware of abstractly but have emotionally repressed; a newspaper headline, not a knock at the door.

In suffering, we join a secret club of the grieving, developing a new found solidarity for those who have been dealt our difficult hand. We feel compelled to prevent what happened to us, and are readily there for those who fall victim.

We cannot undo what has been done, but there is now meaning in what happened. So much meaning that it can feel like it had to be this way. And I don’t say that glibly. Every single morning I wake up in pain and have to coax myself out of a deep sense of unfairness. ‘Everything happens for a reason’ is neither a spiritual bypass nor a sweet conclusion. It is a conviction that something can be made from this.

Everyone is offering something to the world, but the deepest offerings pour from a heart that has been broken. In extending our hearts, we bring oxygen to the gaping wound, and walk a deeper path of healing.

Our offering, in turn, strengthens the resilience of those near and far. We learn that just as suffering is the essential condition of life, the opportunity to alleviate this suffering is our ever present invitation. We enter into a reciprocal relationship with the world. What has been taken from us, becomes the source of our gift.

So when I speak, I imagine two people in each chair. The you, today, here for some tips on resilience. And the you of some tomorrow, where these words have taken on a new and terrible gravity. These words are a handrail to hold as you walk through your own terrible moment, toward the redemption of your deepest offering.

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