Webster's dictionary defines
Resilience is "an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change." Life often includes moments of joy and celebration, co-mingled with change, or misfortune. These undulations of mountain tops and valleys is a part of living, and it is normal for all of us. Thus, our ability to recover and adjust and to thrive is not defined by how many mountaintops we climb or how many times we are at our peaks. Resilience is defined by how we deal with the valleys, how we dust ourselves off, and we rise again when we face adversity.
My faith tradition (the Episcopal Church) is influenced greatly by Benedictine spirituality, whose beginnings in the fifth century with monastic traditions that influenced early Christians in England, Ireland, and Scotland. The Benedictines rule of life, or way of faith, is centered on living a life in balance in prayer, work, and holy leisure. This approach to life embraces that when any of these three areas are out of balance, then we are not whole or rather, we risk our resilience. There is a time for the spiritual, for the vocational (work), and for leisure and play.
As Volunteer Airmen of Civil Air Patrol, it is essential for each of us to find ways to remain resilient and strong in all areas of our lives, so that we might with excellence, accomplish our missions. Moreover, each of us must strive to live into our full potential. In Civil Air Patrol we have Five Pillars of Wellness and Resilience"; Mind, Body, Relationships, Spirit, and Family, and these pillars are the foundation supports for our resilience and balance. We must strive to be fit in each of these areas, and to seek help in those areas in which we struggle.
In addition to my service as a Chaplain in Civil Air Patrol and my work in aviation as a Flight Instructor, my ministry is serving as an Assistant to the Bishop of the Diocese of Oklahoma. My work is often joyful and fulfilling, but it also fraught with challenges and struggles. Often, I must travel all over the State to visit with one of our 68 churches and institutions. I am blessed to help people discover and live into their call to ordained ministry. I help churches call new clergy during times of leadership transition. I am often the one that goes into troubled churches to help them work through times of conflict. It would be easy for me to spend every moment of my week only focused on my work. However, I strive diligently every day to find balance and cultivate the five pillars of resilience. One way I do this is through intentionally combining the church visits I must accomplish each week; with a passion my spouse and I have for camping and RV'g.
My spouse Terri and I, along with our two miniature dachshunds will often take our RV to a State Park near the church we are visiting on an upcoming Sunday. We love to be out in nature, taking our dogs for walks, enjoying a nice campfire, fishing near the lake, or just taking naps with cool breezes blowing through the open windows in our RV. In a few days, we take a few moments in our hectic lives to create balance. We do this intentional play and recreation. We work on the pillars of resilience (mind, body, relationships, spirit, and family) all in a short three-day weekend. Being present in nature, gives our mind a rest from the hectic other parts of life. Walking our dogs gets us off the couch and exercises our bodies. Being together in open spaces of beauty fosters our spiritual connection to nature and creation. Spending time together we my spouse and doing something we love we grow our relationships as a family. What some might see as a mere side trip associated with a work task, can become many moments for cultivating resilience, wholeness, and balance.
So, what do you do to strengthen your pillars of resilience? Remember, it is only when every member of our great organization is strong and resilient that we can be “One Civil Air Patrol, excelling in service our nation and to our members.” So, strive for balance, strengthen you pillars of resilience, and when you need help, reach out to your wingman, your commander, or your chaplain for support.