As a school administrator, I consistently try to focus on my student’s strengths. The celebration of strengths is so hugely important for my kids whose disabilities can impact their entire lives. I have worked with students with Traumatic Brain Injuries and with students with incredibly rare genetic disorders. I have celebrated success and shared tears. Tears have been shed with parents of a newly diagnosed student whose parents knew all along that there was something wrong, but that final confirmation of a meeting with me brought them to their knees. It was my responsibility to help them up and walk through the journey with them. I always have told my parents that the label that was given to their baby does not at all change who their child is or will be.
I have assigned labels to myself, but they are just one snapshot of one aspect of my totality. Stubborn. Yep. Worrier. Yep. Flawed. Hell, yeah! Resilient? Perhaps. I guess I am according to what people tell me. But what does it mean? Does it mean that my struggles are easy? That I put a smile on my face and hide my frustration? Struggles are definitely not easy and “yes” I do hide my frustration fairly well, but there is a side of me that sometimes lets the feelings in and, even sometimes, I can celebrate those feelings as part of the honesty of those struggles. What resilience means to me is that I am creating a beautiful life’s landscape out of imperfection.
And that imperfection was on full display today as I saw a doctor who I had not seen in twelve years or so. He went through my medical history and said, “Wow, you ended up in the wrong line, didn’t you?” I said, “Yes, I ended up in the Orthopedic Hot Mess line, but I also am in the Resilience line.” Even though many times, I feel that the label I have given myself is that of a broken down car, at the end of the day, I am not called to be the sum of my imperfect parts. I am called to be resilient, vulnerable yet strong. My outlook speaks to who I am. Celebrate who you are meant to be in spite of the struggles whatever they may be.