For some obscure reason known only in the deepest recesses of my mind, I have been thinking about words with prefixes. Words like distribute, arrange, invent, create, align, possess, upholster, fuel, are all enriched and enhanced by the prefix, ‘re.’ Of course, not all words that start with, ‘re’ gain from its inclusion, words like result or remain permanently contain their meaning. Having this BLOG to complete then sent me on a search to discover if resilience is a word that has ’re’ as a prefix. To my surprise I found the noun ‘silience’ explained on Google as follows:
‘The kind of unnoticed excellence that carries on around you every day, unremarkably – the hidden talents of friends and co–workers, the fleeting solos of subway buskers, the slapdash eloquence of anonymous users, the unseen portfolios of aspiring artists – which would be renowned as masterpieces if only…..’
Now, if I am completely honest, I am gobsmacked that there is an explanation for such a word as ‘silience’. It was totally unexpected because I had always understood resilience as a standalone word with the ‘re’ permanently embedded. Yet, when I look at the interpretation above it makes real sense in that it allows ‘resilience’ to have an enriched meaning, the one drawing on the other: ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness.’
Over the years I am sure most of us have heard folk talk about their ongoing recovery from illness or bereavement by reference to hitherto hidden resources within or outside themselves that they have drawn on in the recovery process. This may have been referred to more directly by phrases such as ‘I couldn’t have coped if I hadn’t had a faith.’
During these last few months, and I am sure, in the days that lie ahead, people will be called to find the deepest of inner and external resources to draw upon as we enter the ‘new normal’ more fully. I don’t suppose that it will matter whether we all have silience or resilience but importantly we will probably revisit many moments of life experience that helped to create the persons that we are, moments of victory in difficulty, moments when we learned to deal with difficult personalities, faced pressure, stress or complete breakdown but survived because some kindly soul pointed us to the therapeutic benefits of gardening, fishing, art or exercise.
Yet I believe that these means of wellbeing are only part of the process, albeit an important part. We are not simply physical or intellectual beings, we are also spiritual beings. Those who recognise and nourish the spiritual aspect of their beings will gain an additional means to personal resilience. I believe that this is what was happening at the beginning of the pandemic when it was widely noted that up to 25% of the UK population engaged with spiritual matters whether through online services or studies.
All of us, especially in times of trouble, need to find our route to resilience, for myself it is the rich and diverse route of faith, past experiences, exercise (including that garden) and some of the lovely choral music that I have always loved listening to. Let me share with you some words that help me to find that resilience from within and outwith myself.
‘The well is deep, and I require a draught of the Water of Life
And none can quench my soul’s desire for a draught of the Water of Life.
Til one draws near who the cry will hear, Helper of man in their time of need
And I believing, find indeed that Christ is the Water of Life.’ (The Salvation Army Song Book)
As we take stock of our means to resilience in life during these difficult times, let us remember that we are whole people with body, mind and spirit and that each aspect of the whole person must be used as a means to resilience.
Chairman, Faith in Older People