“As we journey through life, discarding baggage along the way, we should keep an iron grip, to the very end, on the capacity for silliness. It preserves the soul from desiccation.” (Humphrey Littleton, quoted in The Times.)
Right now we’re all trying hard to make sense of things. Danger threatens from different directions; serious hardship or worse seems to be round the corner. We do need to be serious; we do need to pray; we also need to be silly from time to time. Anita finds this hard at times. ‘When are you going to grow up?’ She asked recently. I didn’t lower myself to reply. Also it’s hard to speak when you have 45 Gummy Bears in your mouth; a new record.
One reason I got a dog was that they have no dignity whatsoever; you can be as silly as you like with a dog. They may tip their head in puzzlement but that’s only to look cute, hoping you’ll throw them another treat. Another attraction to having a dog is that you can engage almost everyone you meet in the park. A dog conveys that there’s an owner who loves animals, respectable, responsible, worth getting to know in other words. If you tried talking to strangers without a dog in tow you stand a good chance of being reported as a public danger. The truth though, is that you are actually rather silly; you talk to your dog in a silly voice; you romp around on the carpet like a 6 year old; you spoil your dog in ways you would never spoil a child. We won’t discuss sleeping arrangements.
Leaving silliness aside for a moment and putting on my grown up and serious face, what we need right now is resilience. This is how resilience can be defined.
Optimism – stay positive; keep hope alive.
Altruism – help others all you can. Be generous.
Moral Compass – keep your integrity. You know the difference between right and wrong.
Faith – Gives you the inner strength and capacity to keep going.
Humour – I’ve already covered this.
Support – we all need a good family or social network.
Purpose – what gives meaning to your life?
I can sum all this up by a line from one of Van Morrison’s songs where he cries out in either desperation or frustration, “When will I ever learn to live in God. When will I ever learn?”
That’s my heart cry right now. In all the chaos surrounding us globally and locally, I need to learn to live in God.
Lord, for those struggling on their journey,
Offer your strong, steady hand over the rough ground they face today.
Let them drink of your living water, pure and refreshing,
Soothing and restoring the weariest of souls. (John Birch)