What Makes Someone Persevere?

As I watched the Diane Sawyer special, “Miracle at the Mine,” I was struck by how it was a beautiful display of resilience of the human spirit. As I watched each miner rise out from the tubular elevator, appropriately named “Phoenix”, I saw where life was reclaimed, reborn, and reinstilled with faith.

I was so moved as each miner rose from the darkness and into the light. That is what resilience is – rising from the depths of darkness into the light of freedom and celebration.

We often talk and marvel on the resilience of people who have been through horrific atrocities and persevered, like Holocaust survivors, war refugees, children who were abused. What makes someone overcome their circumstances and rise above it all?

So what is exactly the message of resilience into our own lives? There were two essential components that created the “Miracle in the Mine.”

Faith – In order to survive, you must believe that the circumstances will get better. Life will get better. This isn’t to say that you can’t have moments of doubt or despair, but there has to be an overall hope for good to triumph. Hope was all around the miners. So much effort was put into creating and maintaining hope, not only for the miners, but for the families and nation as well. From the soccer games displayed in the mine to the webcam calls the miners had with the families to the weekly Catholic masses. Many prayed and used their belief in God to overcome the negative thoughts that are bound to come in when challenged.

In your own life, is faith is getting more air-time or is doubt? Where could you use a faith pick-me-up?

Support / Community – There were so many examples of community that kept the resiliency strong and alive for the miners. The government asked for global support for the rescue mission, to the unity created inside the mine, everyone’s intention was to enlist the people around them to provide support. Knowing they weren’t alone in their circumstances, provides a beautiful example of people around the globe coming together for a common purpose. When individuals begin to get tired and lose faith, it is the people around them who can provide that hope for them. The key is allowing others to be a part of your experience; letting them in to make a difference. It can give you time to rest and rejuvenate, be supported, be taken care of for a bit. It is not necessarily easy to let others in to your challenges, but it is the golden ticket to thriving from a challenging conversation.

Who around you has kept hope alive when you were feeling doubtful or cynical? Who can you reach out to now to ask to hold the torch of hope? Are there places where you don’t allow others to hold the torch of hope for you? What may be in the way of letting that happen? What are you willing to let go of in order to let others in for support?

When we are in challenging situations, it is common to hunker down and survive the situation, just make it work. I often find myself in that exact situation. The ideas of hope and support, especially support, is not my default way to consider resolving the situation. But every time I reach out for support, I am so grateful that I did.

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