Of all of our sources of resilience, spiritual resilience, it is the only one that is self replenishing. It is proven that the very act in believing adds to our resilience. Like emotional resilience, spiritual resilience grows when shared. But unlike all other canteens of resilience it is spiritual resilience that refills itself. Since we know that it does not matter in what we believe, but that we believe in some form of high order, high wisdom, or higher power a “God” or guiding force in life. It makes sense that acting on our beliefs would add to our resilience.
It was spiritual resilience that sustained me during the multiple field response deployments of 2005. Hurricane Katrina was an absolute catastrophe in both humanitarian and physical nature. What the hurricane had not directly destroyed the levee breaches soon did. Lawlessness and anarchy brought a few to the basis of human emotion and behavior. But the tragedy also brought out the best in many people. Like 9/11 before it, Hurricane Katrina’s “ground zero” was dotted with signs that seem to reproduce like mushrooms, each one declaring “God bless New Orleans” or we have faith, we will be saved.
These people not only publicized their beliefs (and their spiritual resilience), but they lived it. These individuals shared not only their stories with us as we treated their physical ailments, they told us that they would pray for us or that we were the answers to their prayers. It is not unusual to receive perfunctory thank you’s in healthcare, but to be asked to pray with a group of survivors and then be the object of their prayerful thanks is both humbling and rejuvenating.
And for these wonderful survivors it was the act of expressing their spirituality that renewed them. Remember this is New Orleans, we are not just talking Christianity, Islam, Judaism, but Santorista and Voodoo. Every form of religious expression is both familiar and exotic and yet they all served a common end: they bound people together and renewed them. They found the way to refill their own 40,000 gallon bathtub by pouring from their canteen of spiritual resilience.