A Work in Progress

This series is about giving our life higher definition. It’s a work in progress that aims to take a closer look at the words we share and how we define them.

Define ‘Definition’

Noun. A statement of the exact meaning of a word,
especially in a dictionary. See: The Oxford Dictionary.

Wait. There’s more.

An exact statement or description
of the nature, scope, or meaning of something.

Similar: Meaning.

.   .   .

Define ‘Resilience’

Noun. The capacity to recover quickly
From difficulties;
Toughness.

Or perhaps…

The ability of a substance
To spring back into shape;
Elasticity.

Similar: Pliability.

The quality of being easily bent.

The dictionary is so precise:
Define “resilience.”

Everywhere you look,
People are pushing recovery.
People are pushing strength.
Telling you
To be tough.

What is resilient
about the wilting flowers
that sit beside your mother’s hospital bed?

What is resilient
about the empty football jersey
that hangs at high school graduation?

What is resilient
about the unused onesie
that lies on the edge of the new crib?

What is resilient
about the painful lump
that forms in your throat
every time you put on a coat and scarf,
and turn to face the brass handle
on the front door?

Shouldn’t there be a place for this?

Don’t we need a space for this?
For the scars and the shortcomings,
For the threats and the botched responses,
For the injuries and the personal attacks?

What is resilient about not tolerating any tears,
Not validating the way that we were wronged,
Not returning what was stolen from us?

How do we fit the definition?

Were our minds designed to recover quickly?
Were our souls created to be pliable—
Holding the quality that they can be easily bent?
Were our hearts made to be elastic—
To effortlessly spring back into shape?

Define ‘resilience.’

If we are going to give this word definition,
Shouldn’t we at least give one another the opportunity
To build ourselves back up?

Written By Melissa F. Kaelin

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