One of the qualities that I admire and love about my mother-in-law is her amazing resilience. I have seen up close her tryst with Facial Paralysis and how quickly she bounced back from that episode. I really doubt if I am half as resilient as her. Honestly, at this point of time, my answer would be a firm ´No´.
I remember how normal she seemed during the paralysis. She went about her business as usual. In fact, she couldn’t wait to get up and start resuming normal activity. I remember wondering if this ever took an emotional toll on her. Because, as her daughter-in-law living under the same roof, I did not see any signs of depression, stress or panic attack in her. She seemed as strong as the rock of Gibraltar. And seeing her unnatural conduct would make anyone wonder if one had to be pitiful or inspired.
I can never forget the impact she left on me during that episode. It gave me an insight into what resilience truly means. Yes, like the elastic rubber band, to bounce back stronger from a serious setback in life is an enviable skill.
My mother-in-law was so persistent in getting back to normalcy. She did not indulge in any self-pity. Instead, I saw her offering her support and strength to my visibly shaken father-in-law. Seeing her so optimistic and strong was consoling to all of us around her. I don’t remember being more in awe and admiration of my mother-in-law than then.
Setbacks in life can take a serious toll on anyone. It can shake up your entire work upside down. Some have been insulted, rejected, heart broken, cheated, suspended, laid off, struck with a terminal illness, had a major road accident, left handicapped for life etc. The list of setbacks could be endless.
My mother-in-law was no stranger to setbacks. She often remarks how tough life has been for her. Mainly in the areas of her health. She had an early onset of diabetes and has been successfully managing the illness for more than 35 years effortlessly. With her chronic health condition, she has been successfully teacher nursery students for so many years. Teaching such young children is a highly physically challenging job. But she manages more than 60 of these tiny tots, looking into every personal detail, so beautifully. She is highly organised and disciplined in body, mind and soul. She doesn’t let her heart cloud and attach her brain during a crisis. She had a major heart attack a few years ago and again, bounced back like a true warrior.
Yes, she had her low points but she quickly chose to steer the direction towards hope and persistence and it paid her immensely. She is truly the living example of this quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher and now made popular by Kelly Clarkson´s song which goes by the same name.
´What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger´
I learnt from my mother-in-law that to be strongly resilient we have to surrender to the reality. We cannot fight against the present situation. There is nothing we can do to change the reality. Yes, that girl cheated on me with another guy and left me for him. Yes, the death of a close loved one can leave anyone emotionally shattered. Yes! It´s very lonely at the top and affect anyone even someone as well-noted as Deepika Padukone and leave them feeling all empty and worthless inside. It can lead some people who made us laugh like Robin Williams to commit suicide.
Very recently, I had an emotional setback and what I´d like to call a ´stab in the back´. It took me a week to get over it. I couldn’t even get out of my bed for days. And it was such a struggle to act all normal around my child. My husband perfectly understood what I was going through. But, it was a really emotionally trying time for me. I has never felt as vulnerable as this before.
But, you know how as the saying goes, setbacks lead you to become stronger a little more, every time. If it doesn´t kill that is!
I am glad today for that setback. It was actually a true blessing in disguise. I emerged out the experience wiser, feeling more personal strength, spiritually more connected with my Father, having a better understanding and connection with my own true self, feeling emotionally more bonded with family and friends, feeling a lot of gratitude for this life that I have and seeing newer opportunities unfold.
I remember the last Sunday when I walked into the church and saw the cross, I knew I got the answer. No matter the cross you have to carry and undertake in your life, surrender to the suffering and RISE.