"Part of what makes America strong is our resilience, tenacity, innovation and our willingness to be optimistic about our future."
— Valerie Jarrett
The heavy gray cloud cover had given way to a different sky as I drove south that day. Layers of various shades of gray mingled with puffs and streaks of white. The blue that backed this display was a clear, painter's cerulean.
Wow. The day's sky changes, like so many of our weather changes of late, have us constantly adapting and changing our ways, which made me think of the value of resilience.
Resilience is a kind of flexibility. It is the ability to recover quickly from setbacks. It is more than merely adapting. It is buoyancy and a kind of toughness. Its opposite would be rigidity and defeatism.
As I was driving, the news radio provided background noise to my thoughts — a background noise filled with political ads that are filled with a confusion of views. All of the political nattering of late had me asking the questions, "What will those who are so rabid do when the result is not what they want? Will they be able to be resilient and go forward? Will I?"
Based on a quick straw poll done in my head of my immediate family, my first thought was I had better be ready to be resilient myself. With just two weeks until the election, most decisions have already been reached, and the odds are not in favor for many of my own choices. Hmmm. Just how well will I respond to things not going my way?
Over the course of our lives, just how often do things go our way? Hopefully, we all can turn to and rely on the characteristics Valerie Jarrett imparts to us. Rigidity serves no one during times of change. We must be innovative — creative even — and move forward.
Change of course — whether from what is or from what we want — presents us with new questions and new opportunities. This can be counted as gain, rather than loss, if we choose.
As we muddle through the options presented to us over the next two weeks and try to make some sense of all the rhetoric, most of us will come to feel strong in our choices. Others will feel just as sure their course is the right one. It is inevitable that some of us will be disappointed.
What do you do when thwarted? Some will pout. Some will rant. Some will turn their frustration into action toward the future. Some will show resilience, tenacity and innovation and be willing to be optimistic about our future — locally and globally.
When the time comes, I can only hope I am one of the latter. This will better serve me and my community near and far. The odds are — here at least — in my favor.
Don't forget to vote. It does matter.
Cherril Doty is an artist, writer and director of the Sawdust Studio Art Classes in Laguna Beach. Always fascinated, inspired, and titillated by the beauty and the ever-changing mysteries of life, she can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at (714) 745-9973.