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Thoughts on Resilience

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We tragically lost three members of our little island community this week. The weight of it is tangible. Our hearts are breaking and our heads are in a fog. Meanwhile, the world beyond our idyllic shores feels like it is spinning out of control. I feel like I am trapped in a global game of apocalypse bingo and all of it is precipitating a deeply nostalgic longing for more ordinary and manageable dilemmas.

My family and I sometimes spend our tea time joking about what we would do to change the world if we were in charge of things for twenty-four hours. These aren’t deep conversations and our proposed solutions aren’t visionary. We just find it fun to ponder simple nuisances we could resolve in one day. I personally would mandate yearly free dental check-ups, make it illegal to drive slowly in the fast lane, and make it the law that news programs serve up good stories alongside the bad. 

These kinds of musings may seem foolish, or childish, or even privileged in a time like this. However, I’m feeling drawn to simple ideas and pleasures right now because I’m truly wondering, how much worry, stress, and sadness we can all manage. I want to play with babies, puppies, and kittens and relish their loving, joyful purity.

The world just feels so bad right now. Is it worse than ever or are we just more aware of what’s going on? I’m not a historian but I feel heavier than ever.

So today, at Cedar Mountain Studios, we’re talking about resilience. We’re thinking about how to help others while staying strong while we face down our own adversities. We’re reminding ourselves that resilience doesn’t mean not falling down, but rather standing up, again and again, no matter how many times you falter.

Yesterday, to keep it light at tea time, I asked my family what they missed most about their lives before the pandemic. Amy, Don, and Erica said they missed travel. Amy and I will especially miss traveling to gift shows in New York and Toronto. Spending time with our talented community of makers at these shows invigorates us. We’ll miss these connections dearly. My oldest grandson, Jack, who is five, said simply that he missed his friends.

So here’s our good news story. This week Jack got to go to school for a socially distanced, fewer kids in the classroom kind of reunion. He saw his friends and played with them at recess and at lunch. When he came home from school his eyes were glistening and his face was masked with joy. He triumphantly declared that every kid in his class had a wiggly tooth, just like him.

It was awesome. Seeing the joy on Jack’s face revived my spirits. He was jubilant because he felt part of something. Jack was going through something important with other people and his happiness reminded me that we can all find joy when we remember that we’re going through this together. We have each other and that’s worth a lot. Our connections to each other are the source of our mutual resilience.

All of us at Cedar Mountain Studios wish everyone peace in these unbelievably uncertain times. We wish for you to find resilience and the ability to stand back up whenever you fall. We hope you will nurture the life-sustaining connections you have with those around you.

I want to leave you with a line I love from Mary Oliver’s poem, The Uses of Sorrow, “Someone I once loved gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”

Suzanne Zacharias
Co-founder and Tea Drinker, Cedar Mountain Studios

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