Posted by: Beverly Davidson, LMSW | December 31, 2013

The Year of Resilience

Resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness…or “the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens”….”an ability to recover from or adjust easily to or change……” If I had to summarize 2013 in one word it would be just that – resilience.

Personally, so many of my loved ones have faced challenges this year – health crisis, loss of loved ones, employment crisis, life changes…..the list is long. I have watched friends and family deal with a crisis, and each and every one has shown such toughness and grace in the midst of the unthinkable. I stand in awe of them, and as a witness to their pain, I can only imagine what the depth of the sadness must be like. My hope for each person affected by pain and loss is that this new year will be different, one filled with renewal and peace, and that their strength will be rewarded with joy.

Professionally, it has been one of the toughest years of my career. When I was working for child protective services I expected to see and hear horrible things, as that is what I signed up for in many ways. Having the expectation of tragedy somehow armored me enough to do the job for ten years. After those ten, I realized I needed to be on the other side – working with families in the hopes of preventing child abuse. As 2013 closes, I am not sure which side I am on. I have had more serious child abuse cases referred to me this year through my early intervention job than I have had in 14 years. I have seen more poverty, drug and alcohol abuse (and subsequently drug-addicted babies), violence, homelessness, and fear in the eyes of my clients than I ever have. A family I work with has been affected by homicide, a few others by child abuse, others by drug abuse and mental illness. And the hardest was saying goodbye to one of my little babes who passed away for reasons that are still unclear to me. After all of these years of being a social worker, I felt scared out there.

In spite of all this darkness, resilience did prevail. A year ago a little baby who was severely abused with broken bones and internal injuries is now a thriving toddler living with loving relatives. Another baby who was born drug-addicted and small is now walking, talking, and in the arms of a loving adoptive mother. A mom and her baby leave an unsafe situation, falling into homelessness, but with their lives and integrity intact. The first baby should not have survived his injuries, but he did. The second baby should have developmental problems because of all the drugs, but he does not. The mom could have decided to stay with a violent person and have material things, but she kept on fighting and searching for a way to make herself and her baby safe instead. All of these families, like so many others, could have given up when it got too tough, but they didn’t. They learned to let go of the hands that hurt them, and hold onto the hands that helped. Once again, I am in awe of them and honored that I was able to walk with them on their journey. Thankfully, there are happy endings, which fuels me and keeps me resilient enough to carry on.

They say the human brain has an enormous capacity for resilience. This year has definitely proved that to me.

In honor of the year of resilience, the year that a great hero for human rights passed on, I will remember his words: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” -Nelson Mandela

May 2014 be a better year for us all.




  1. Wow, so sad to hear of all the fear so many live in and stay in, and so very inspiring to hear of the deep resilience found to get out of fearful situations. A very powerful post, thank you!

  2. Thank you Bev. As always, you dig deep and pull up words that touch the heart and soul. You good Scorpio you. It is an honor to know you and know that with you on this planet, the world is a better, safer place in the resilience of your big heartedness. May this year bring peace, and love, kindness, and great joy.

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