Meaning and Purpose

Photos of Resilience

by John Fawcett
Relationships 1

I’ve talked of resilience as a process, as a consequence, as an outcome. I believe resilience is not merely coping, but much more than coping, it is thriving. The ability to thrive is a human characteristic. As I’ve noted elsewhere, most discussions on resilience focus on coping, on the capacity to manage the complexities of a life, or a context. There is a tendency to promote survival as the end point of a resilient strategy. Yes, I am aware we also desire people are well, maybe even demonstrate post-traumatic growth. 

Many resilience strategies use the concept of balance as a means to describe success. The argument is that if we can achieve a balance of strength against pressure we become resilient. As a tree bends in the wind but does not break, we are successfully resilient.

But this is insufficient to explain true resilience. 

Resilience is about the capacity to thrive. It is not so much about balance as it is about daring. It is not so much about coping as it is about creating. It is not a consequence of trauma, but a natural component of all life.

We can see this in photographs. 

I found this extraordinary photography project the other day which highlights this reality. Stacey Steinberg has authored the “Shared Hope” Project where she creates photographs of, in her words, ‘the intersection of life and beauty’ as she has followed families battling birth cancers, congenital defects and injuries. 

In some sense the images are as you would expect. Children and parents in hospital settings. Tubes, machines, beds and bandages. But, take another look. These children are not merely coping. Not merely surviving. The images reveal human beings thriving. Not in spite of, or because of, or in denial of, but as a consequence of being human. Of being alive. 

Resilience is about living life to the fullest extent. Of taking risks. Giving and receiving fellowship, relationship and lives.

Take a look. Tell me I’m wrong


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