……but I’m getting stronger.
It’s a plain hard fact that MS is a thief. It takes things away from those who involuntarily host it. Things that used to belong to us now belong to MS. It makes our bodies weak.
But, as my body becomes weaker, other things are growing stronger. They are things you don’t see, things you cannot see. While MS is taking, it is also giving. You may wonder how.
MS gives us time. While the physically healthy people in the world are busy working long hours to survive and achieve, we are given much more unplanned time than most people ever dream of having. The time MS gives us offers opportunities to appreciate simple things. I am more reflective than I used to be. With time to reflect, my past has become more clear, the present more enjoyed and the future more valued.
I appreciate places. I’m grateful for the comforts of my home. When I am able to leave my home and go out, I see places differently than I used to. Colors are more vivid and details are clearer. I’m thankful my eyesight is not more affected.
I communicate better. I’m forced to. My speech is affected, but not as much as it could be. I have time to consider how to phrase what I say and how I hear things.
As I become more isolated, I appreciate people more. I’m growing closer to those who matter most. I’m closer to my husband. I have time to think about all he has achieved in his lifetime and how he is growing through this difficulty we share. I watch him more and marvel at both the complexity and simplicity of his movements and thought processes. I have an ever growing appreciation and respect for him. I enjoy time with other people more than I used to. I have a greater gratitude for visits from friends and chances to get to know them better. The access to other people that the internet provides offers opportunities to connect with the many people from my past, long ago and recent. I’ve also grown closer to God. I’m a better pray-er. The more time I spend praying, the more I find myself listening. I still do plenty of expressing myself and presenting requests, but I spend more time confessing than I used to. And overall, there is less talking and more listening during my prayer time. Because of the time I spend listening, I’m more in tune to God’s voice.
Time can be an enemy. If I focus on myself, its easy to become negative and self absorbed. It takes a conscious effort to reprogram my weak human way of thinking and instead view things in a positive and strong way. It’s an exercise in discipline to change the focus from me to God. I fail often, but having so much time to pray helps. It boils down to who I am spending more time with, myself or God. When I’m closer to God, I am provided with ways to think with His mind and see through His eyes. I’m praying the termites leave that part of my brain unexplored so I can use it to choose how I spend the time MS gives me.
I cropped this from an MS flier that came in the mail:
I am often so consumed with maintaining physical abilities that I miss recognizing the many other things life has to offer. I want to notice those things more…appreciate them…enjoy them. So I’m going to take the six positive words above and also adjust them to say
GOD IS. GOD CAN. GOD WILL.
I count on Him to refigure my thoughts and remind me to think positively.
MS can be physically crippling. It increasingly limits the ability to move and there are multiple ways it can affect its hosts cognitively too. Working through grief can be time consuming and emotionally draining. MS takes plenty. But it gives things too. MS can only cripple my spirit if I allow it to. If I spend the extra time MS gives me with God, it can make me stronger.