RESILENCY AT ITS BEST

Recently, we have seen locally in western New York a spirit of tremendous resilience and determined perseverance at its best! And with that resilience, we have seen neighborly helpfulness at the very height of a giving generosity. Indeed, that spirit of enduring resilience and uncompromising generosity prevailed in the currency of events in our local area. For you see, much of our resilience comes from community—from the relationships that allow us to lean on each other for support when that is what is needed. Our area experienced just that... resilience and giving... and many will not forget!

There just seemed to be no end in sight. The virtual nightmare continued for nearly six days. A mid-November, 2014 lake induced snow storm of astronomical proportions hit parts of western New York with a vengeance. Heavy winter snow fell, in an historic amount, in areas of South Buffalo and much of Erie, Chautauqua and parts of Cattaraugus Counties. The US Weather Bureau stated that a winter lake induced snow storm of this intensity was indeed historic for the area.

People of all ages were virtually incarcerated in their homes or places of work because of the horrendous depth of snow and zero visibility. Seven feet of snow fell within a matter of 48 hours at the rate of three to four inches per hour. The snows hit with what seemed to be an unending furiousness. Vehicles of all sizes were stranded for hours on highways, and main thoroughfares were completely clogged. Side streets and rural highways were absolutely impassable, not for hours but for days. Tragically and sadly, a number of storm related lives were lost. Many mobile homes collapsed under the heavy weight of snow. Many structures including cattle barns and greenhouses were seriously damaged if not totally decimated. Roofs and car ports buckled, doors gave way, and walls caved in. A state of emergency was declared by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The National Guard was activated. Rescue crews from as far away as Long Island and from out of state converged on the area to aid with health related calls and snow removal and to assist with necessary food, water, and medical deliveries. Flooding in flood prone areas was also of imminent threat with the forecast of rain and warming temperatures causing a rapid snow melt and water run-of. Understandably, affected folks of all ages were threatened. But the threatened folks remained resilient.

Neighbors helping neighbors... as best they could... were apparent everywhere. And human outreach from generous neighboring communities lent a ray of hope to those so devastated. First responders, community service personnel, and the print..audio...and visual media rendered "yeoman" service during this most difficult time. Everyone seemed to take seriously the golden rule "Do unto others what you would have others do unto you." If ever there was spirit of sharing and thoughtful giving, that time was in the presence of this weather trauma. And, on the part of those so desperately directly affected, undeniable courage and valiant resilience prevailed.

Resilience seems to be as an invisible shield made out of spirit. It helps people succeed with hope and heal adversity. Resilience inspires one to face life’s hardships and difficulties with boldness and courage. It renders encouragement and patience and an inspiration not to give up even when faced with overwhelming odds. Resilience comes from an enduring Faith, and the support and help from other people. It comes from relationships from others that help people to see the "light at the end of the nightmare." Resilience helps one to believe in doing things that are nearly impossible and it helps one to think through to a hopeful conclusion. Resilient folks are survivors. They are the teachers of generosity and boldness. Being resilient is not only about being strong, but it is also about being generous. Resilience cannot only be taught, it is caught; caught through experience and endurance.

It is true, during this winter event, many have gone through a lot, and many have endured the hardship of great loss. But we know when one’s back is against the wall, the spirit of resilience is a solid place from which to get leverage to push off and get a fresh forward thrust to even greater accomplishments. For you see, no person ever made any material as vibrant as the resilience of the human spirit. It is with that vigorous spirit that one moves in Faith toward confidence in a bright and hope-filled future!