Tuesday, September 02, 2014

‘Ruralites’ and the Resilience Factor (Peter Black)

The characteristic known as resilience involves our lives numerous times on any given day. From the time we cuddle a sponge-filled toy as an infant in the cradle, we experience resilience. As a toddler in the bath, under the watchful eye of our mom or dad, our cute rubber Ducky floats within our grasp.
We reach out and grab him. When we squeeze him, Ducky squeaks, so we let out a squeal of delight. When we release our grip he squeaks again and the impression in the rubbery material disappears. Among other factors pertaining to the physical properties that enabled our rubber Ducky to spring back to its original shape is that of resilience. This quality is also at work in a bouncing ball. 
Courtesy of Pikmin.wikia.com

Our lives and the physical properties of items we depend on every day are intermingled. From the springs in our bed to the suspension springs in our car, from the six strings in our kid’s guitar to the two-hundred and ten or so in grandma’s piano, and from the hardwood floor in our living room to the trampoline in the neighbour’s backyard, resilience is working for us.

 This is true even in the properties of our skin and bones. When bones lose a degree of this property, they become brittle and more subject to fracturing. Resiliency is related to elasticity, and once aging skin loses those properties it sags, unable to spring back and shrink to its former shape. I know, for I have a lot of sag, myself.
Simply put, resilience is the ability to spring back or return after stretching and compression or bending, and to resume a former size and shape.
Resilience—that’s what I’ve witnessed again and again over the years in rural people and farming folk. Resilient people. Generally the people of the communities served by the newspaper for which I wrote the original version of this article are to be commended on their willingness and ability to help one another in times of difficulty. They’ve risen again and again to help fellow citizens arise from the ashes of broken dreams, bereavement and deep, heart-rending loss. They’ve helped one another to come back and recover from those situations. I’ve little doubt that this would be multiplied hundreds-of-thousands of times across the country.
Fair Use: Courtesy of Pr. Shop
Two-thirds of my pastoral service years were spent in small town and village communities in Ontario. I learned that people who live close to the earth and nature, as rural dwellers do—especially those who have a farming background, often develop a capacity for resilience. Their experience, in facing the challenges of weather and nature and the financial uncertainties inherent in the agricultural life, builds into them a paradoxical combination of the following characteristics:
First, independence (they learn multiple skills and can do a lot for themselves).
Second,  dependence (they depend on the weather and various factors in nature that are beyond their control, and they often depend on and teach their family members to pull their weight, for the good of all).
And third, interdependence (such as when their neighbour needs a helping hand to complete planting in spring or to get crops off the fields before bad weather). They provide help, if at all possible, knowing that the time may come when they’ll depend on their neighbour’s help.
Biblical faith holds firm in many ‘ruralite’ hearts, despite numerous challenges, for their fundamental dependence is placed in Creator God. Experience and perseverance lead to hopeful optimism: “This harvest wasn’t great, but we got one, thank God. Next year may be better.”
Resilience: Springing and bouncing back, and not staying bent out of shape—despite the hard knocks of life.
Resilience: “. . . we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5 NIV).

Peter’s new book, “Raise Your Gaze . . . Musings of a Grateful Heart,” was released in August, 2014. 52 Adapted newspaper column articles and a sprinkling of Words to Bless.

Available from: Angel Hope Publishing (Coming soon: An ebook version and availability at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com )


 Peter A. Black's first book: “Parables from the Pond” – a children's / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing). Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults.

His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario.


Rose McCormick Brandon said...

Peter, I found this inspiring. I too have noticed the resilience of rural folk. I could learn a few lessons from them. Well done!

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Thanks Peter for writing about this important topic. The most resilient people I have met were the people of Haiti and that was before the earthquake. Their resilience shone to those who went there to help after the earthquake. Many people mentioned it to me, and having seen them in action, I could believe it.

Ed Hird+ said...

Resilience is so vital in our lives. It is at the heart of the Christian life. You are right, Peter, that many rural people exhibit that quality. Most of our grandparents and greatgrandparents used to live in a rural setting. Our current urbanization has many wins and many losses, including sometimes the strength of resilience. We urbanites need the resilience of Jesus more than ever.

Glynis said...

Oh so true. Resilience. A beautiful thing. A perfect partner for hope. Lovely post, Peter, and I will never look at my rubber ducky the same!

Janis Cox said...

Love this Peter. We need to be resilient but trusting God to carry us through. I am enjoying your new book.

Earl Silver said...

Resilience Peter may be something more than a learned response. Could it be one of the gifts that a creator God poured into a creation designed to be like Himself?

Susan Harris said...

You describe my farming husband well, Peter. I received your book and will be starting it this week.

Peter Black said...

Well,well. My thanks to each of you kind folks for your generous comments. I'd no idea until now that those comments had been made.
May you experience the joy and peace of resilience through an appropriate balance between flexibility and elasticity! :)
And Earl, you may well be right. Perhaps - at least, in some cases - one's "resilience factor" or "quotient" may well be attributable to an innate gift one receives from Creator God, and reflects a characteristic of Himself.~~+~~

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