By Laurel Blount
Sometimes God uses unlikely people to teach us valuable lessons. For example I learned most of what I know about resilience from a seven-year-old boy who knew only three words of English.
Resilience is usually defined as “the ability to recover quickly from difficulties,” and as every author knows, that’s a much-needed trait in the writing business. We creatives tend to be sensitive folks–fine-tuned to the frequency of our feelings. That sensitivity is a gift from God–it helps us to flavor our writing with emotion and truth. But it also means we can really get stomped by the tougher aspects of our profession. To rise above that, we need to actively cultivate resilience.
Fortunately I have a real-life expert on resilience currently eating cereal in my kitchen, and I think the lessons he’s taught me are worth a share.
When my husband and I met our youngest son in a conference room in northern China, we were overjoyed–and nervous. We were adopting a seven-year-old boy who’d experienced a confusing abandonment at age five–and several heartbreaking situations since. We’d been warned by our adoption agency to expect rage, rejection, grief and opposition. So when the long-anticipated day finally arrived, we were prayed up and braced for a tough beginning. We’d prepared ourselves for everything–except what actually happened.
Our new son bounced into the conference room with his orphanage escorts and promptly climbed in my lap. He examined the contents of the backpack we’d brought along, chattering cheerfully in Chinese. He left that room grinning and holding our hands, and he never looked back.
That was five years ago this month, and the kid’s still smiling. The boy we now call Levi is the most resilient human being I’ve ever met.
Here’s what he’s taught me:
- To face uncertainty with optimism. The writing business is ever-evolving. My goal is to surf this sea of change with the same happy expectancy I saw in my son. He didn’t have a clue what would happen next–but he searched out the good in every new experience. (One of the first English words he learned was “Wow!” )
- To shrug off disappointments–and keep moving forward. The writing life is full of setbacks. Rejections come to us all, sales are not always spectacular, reviews are not unfailingly positive. As he settled into his new American life, I noticed that Levi wasted little time fretting over things that didn’t work out the way he’d hoped. He’d just shrug and focus on the next adventure. My goal is to do the same.
- To be my own best friend. Levi’s twelve now and still faces some challenges. He struggles with a stutter, and his ability to read and write English lags a couple of years below grade level. But he’s never translated this to mean that there’s anything wrong with And of course, there isn’t! I believe as writers we should follow suit. Maybe your dream agent passed on representing you. You didn’t final in that contest, or the full manuscript that was requested at the conference came back with a no. Those things don’t mean there’s something wrong with you as a writer. Be as kind and encouraging to yourself as you would be to your best writing buddy if he/she were experiencing these same disappointments.
I don’t know what challenges you’ve faced in your writing journey. But whatever they are, I’m praying today that you’ll move forward with the resilience of a seven-year-old kid in ill-fitting overalls, who bounded into a conference room full of strangers, confident that something wonderful was waiting just around the corner.What a seven year old orphan taught a writer about resilience. @laurelannwrites #ACFWBlogs #writing Click To Tweet
Award-winning author Laurel Blount lives in Georgia with her husband, four children and assorted spoiled animals. Her days are a happy whirl of writing, housekeeping, homeschooling and hobby farming. Her third Love Inspired romance Hometown Hope releases on June 18 and is available for preorder! Find her at laurelblountbooks.com
What a wonerful tribute to Levi! As you are fortunate to have him, he is fortunate to be loved by you.
I’ve had to learn a different kind of resilience.
They say the end is coming soon
and I should resign myself to drugs,
but I am gonna shoot the moon
and draw my strength from hugs.
Cancer’s not the nicest foe,
‘specially the pancreatic kind,
with pain a-comin’, blow on blow,
it can make you lose your mind.
That’s why hugs, and that’s why love,
’cause they are the sharpest spear;
held by iron fist in velvet glove,
they sustain me, year on year.
The docs say I’ll be presently dead,
but I choose to live in love instead.
Thanks for posting this Laurel and I’m so glad for your son’s optimism. One of my sons is also this way and it can change a cloudy day in a moment! I write about resilience and learned from Levi’s attitude here very well – to greet life with happy expectancy. I may need to embroider that on a pillow. You should frame this for some day when he’s a teen like my sons are now. Golden moment!
Andrew, thanks for sharing your poem. Choosing to live in love—what a beautiful and brave choice. Lifting you and your family in prayer.
Elizabeth, you are so right–that happy expectancy does turn gloomy days around in amazing ways! Teenaged years are looming, so your advice is right on target.