What is resilience?
This question, sometimes rhetorical, sometimes not, has stayed with me a lot lately.
Is resilience simply to overcome, or is it truly something bigger, something we sometimes do not even realize we have until hindsight?
In November of 2022, former First Lady, Michelle Obama, released her second non-fiction book, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times.
The book intertwines many anecdotal pieces targeted at overcoming stress and uncertainty.
I know for many, this book is immediately categorized in the political genre simply because of the author. Yes, there are some political aspects, but overall, it resonates with the stressors we all have felt and, yes, even overcame in the past three years.
There are chapters about friendship, marriage, education, COVID, and parenting, to name a few. At times each story seems purely autobiographical but ultimately becomes self-reflective for the reader.
At one point, Obama explains: “There’s no way to eliminate the ache of being human, but I do think we can diminish it. This starts when we challenge ourselves to become less afraid to share, more ready to listen—when the wholeness of your story adds to the wholeness of mine. I see a little of you. You see a little of me. We can’t know all of it, but we’re better off as familiars. Any time we grip hands with another soul and recognize some piece of the story they’re trying to tell, we are acknowledging and affirming two truths at once: We’re lonely and yet we’re not alone.”
In retrospect, the years following the Covid-19 pandemic have been challenging for us all.
Some of us have lost loved ones.
Some have lost businesses.
Students were isolated.
Parents were overwhelmed.
Wars have broken out.
And the economy has had a downturn.
Being a human has indeed come with many aches since 2020. However, we are not alone.
We were never nor will we ever be alone. That is the strongest part of Obama’s message for me, and that is why I think I may reference it various times in the years to come.
The title of this book refers to the inner strength and beauty each individual carries. The many lessons are aimed to provide insight into how we all can recognize our light but also harness it and shine it on others who surround us.
In other words, it is the true definition of resilience.
PMC Book Club’s next pick is the children’s favorite, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Katie DiCamillo. We welcome you to join us in the reading.