To A Child Dancing In The Wind
by William Butler Yeats
Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind!
Saint Patrick, the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, was born in Roman Britain during the fourth century. Believed to have died on March 17 480 A.D., St. Patrick’s Day was created to commemorate the death of Saint Patrick in the fifth century, the saint’s religious feast day, as well as celebrate Irish heritage and culture.
Prior to reading Frank McCourt’s memoir “Angela’s Ashes,” Irish culture and heritage for me largely had to do with pubs, shamrocks, and curiously entertaining accents. McCourt’s masterful and beautiful use of words opened my eyes to a rich culture of resiliency that has carried generations of Irish people through the most tumultuous of personal and collective storms. The McCourt family struggles with abject poverty, illness, death, and alcoholism are crosses many Irish families had to wrestle with during the time period this memoir documents. But amid all of this unimaginable pain and suffering rests a resilient spirit that defined the unshakeable faith and determination these individuals and country had (have) to make it through another day.
Throughout the past few years, personal dissatisfaction and grief, coupled with family illnesses and death, have tested my resiliency on a near constant basis. Loss, grief, and shattered dreams have a way of knocking me straight into a whirlwind of despair and hopelessness, something I fight against falling back nearly everyday. But what I’ve reluctantly come to learn and am slowly embracing, is that the opportunity to tap into our pockets of resilience rise prominently out of the ashes of our most darkest moments. This is the space where character and courage are developed and refined.
For some, their pockets of resilience rise out of the memory of a loved one, unbreakable family ties and/or out of the fear of lessons unlearned and experiences untapped. While others rest on a hope in things unseen, on the eternal, similar in fashion to the letter written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth recorded in 2 Corinthians 4:18 of the bible. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” is a principal promise many Christians rest upon in times when resilience is needed in abundant supply. For many, it is the combination of the experiential and the spiritual (Christian or otherwise) that activate the pockets of resilience that help them get through the darkest of days.
This St. Patrick’s Day, I invite you to not only celebrate the history of resilience nestled in the Irish culture, but also to take time to celebrate the history of resilience that permeates your life, acknowledging that even though:
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”
What do you draw upon in times when you believe resilience is most needed in your life?