Sun 30 October 2016
We’ve been paying attention to ‘resilience’ in recent weeks. Of course it’s a Good Thing to have improved resilience in the face of stress – what’s not to like? We’ve invested in improvements to our computer system’s resilience, looking at weak links in the chain from broadband to server to database. We don’t want to be knocked over by the first challenge or misfortune that comes our way, and beefing up the weak links is definitely a useful exercise.
It is important at Sheldon that we pay attention to our IT resilience as we rely on it for running Sheldon day to day (bookings diary, shared calendars, etc) and as we build a major new online resource for people in ministry – the Sheldon Hub. Recent work has included:-
- Shutting all computers and phones down for a week to rewire the patch panel – the central junction box in the photo. A bit like the office taking a silent retreat perhaps?
- Installing a ‘failover’ system so that if one broadband line goes down it automatically switches to the secondary one. Some crises are predictable rather than preventable and the trick is to have a planned course of action when they happen.
- Changing our IT support provider. It was hard to leave our previous one who was a good friend and had served us well for many years. But our needs had outgrown the capacity of his business so we needed to move on. Do we sometimes stay with a spiritual director or therapist longer than we should because moving on is uncomfortable?
But are there times when a focus on resilience is not such a Good Thing? Maybe when it implicitly puts the blame on the one who is suffering. ‘Sorry you’ve had a breakdown, if you’d done your resilience training properly this wouldn’t have happened.’ It can idealise an unhealthy self-sufficiency. We can reduce risk but we can’t eliminate it. Sometimes life throws too much at us at once, and the proper response is loving kindness and care. We can pay attention to our networks of support so we have people we can turn to. We can pay attention to our internal weak links, and occasionally go ‘off line’ for a while. But let’s also be kind to one another when we do stagger or fall in the face of cumulative or overwhelming stresses.