Resilience, once again

I have written about resilience a number of times before, as a reminder: resilience describes the ability to function under stress/ load, to return to a state of relaxation thereafter. It is a term used in a wide range of disciplines, such as engineering, psychology, ecology, aid organisation or economy, each with their own specific variations upon the theme.

Resilience, besides configuration and compatibility, is a key concept when considering properties of equipment, assemblies or systems. Not just that, resilience is also a desirable quality in individuals and teams working in high-risk environments, as is ensures correct, safe actions – as well as the ability to regenerate.

One of the instances in which resilience in a person becomes visible is how they overcome hardship, for instance after a serious accident. Through tree work I have had the privilege to meet some extraordinary people. This may not always be visible on the surface, yet the way in which they have dealt with a severe blow can be very impressive and humbling. It goes to show how seemingly ordinary people can achieve extraordinary goals when push comes to shove.

I am thinking for example of our friend Friedrich and the way he fought his way back into life after an accident so severe, with such a long series of complications afterwards that you wonder how he survived. To this day he celebrates two birthdays every year: once his actual birthday and once on the date of the accident.

It was a true pleasure spending some time in a tree with Rachel last month, who also had a very bad fall a couple of years ago, damaging her back very seriously. Again, someone else might have just resigned herself to a life in a wheelchair or at least severely impaired – but not Rachel. She confronted and overcame the damage caused by the accident to a degree which allows her to climb today again.

This list could go on and on. I am touched and humbled by these stories. So often we take our health and physical strength for granted, with life just rumbling along at a more or less constant pace. Yet it is only when life hangs suspended from one thin thread that you can actually feel it pulsating, wanting to be lived!

Life is fragile. Value it. Climb safe – and be resilient!