Resilience – Blah, Blah, Blah

by Rev. MacArthur H. Flournoy, MDiv.

Resilience is that thing I would tout whenever I heard someone going through some kind of struggle or situation. In a misdirected effort to bring comfort, my line would go something kind of like this “as long as I’ve known you, you have come through every situation on the winning end – more than anything, you are resilient.”

Now I understand the blank stare and glazed over look I would get in response to my trite statement. It didn’t matter that my intent was to convey some measure of comfort and assurance.

Now I’m lead to wonder was my response for those who shared their struggle with me – in confidence, or was it motivated by my own discomfort. I believe there are many people who would rather not be reminded of our, humanity and finite mortality. So we errantly offer up empty statements, not for them – but for us.

Make no mistake I believe in the resilience of black people, Latinx people, all people of color, immigrants, women, LGBTQ folks and many others. Were it not from my Mexican- American mother’s resilience – I would not be alive at this moment to even write about this experience. Resilience is not what I believe in – it’s what I know. I have seen it with my own eyes.

Can I tell you a secret? there have been moments where I have questioned my own resilience. When my life force would attempt to take a nosedive into the depths of despair, there comes a still-speaking voice that I hear from within that calls me to look at my life and consider what I have already come through.

Poverty, violence, and a deep spiritual wound when I have to reconcile my faith to sexuality are just some of the things I have seen up close and personal – as they say. By God’s grace and having access to excellent medical care I am healthy, living with HIV and I have done so for 29 years.

Without a doubt, I’m searching for a job – one that will engage my capture my imagination, challenge me to grow and allow me to become passionate again about my work.

Greater still, what I have discovered in this season is that I am much stronger than I thought five-months ago. I’ll even go so far to say that the affirmations and words of encouragement my friends and colleagues have shared with me seeped through my calcified skull and bled into my heart. I’ll say it. I AM resilient. Who the hell knew?


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