Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Melancholy Past or Glorious Future? You choose!

When you live with chronic, debilitating and degenerative disease like MS, there are often times when you find yourself looking back on your former life before you got sick, or as one of my MS friends calls it, "your able bodied life."

It's very easy to have something trigger a memory of times gone by, times that were easier for you, times when your body seemed to work normally like it was before you got sick. I guess that is also the plight of getting older, but at a much slower pace. Your body ages, you slow down and can't keep the pace that you used to when you were younger. But you expect that, it's part of the aging process.

Well, when you have MS, take that slower pace up to warp speed and try being cut off at the knees when you are in the prime of your life. Just when everything seems to rolling along nicely for you. Everything's great and can go from feeling just fine one day to not being able to walk, or talk, or be numb over every inch of your body the next morning. Right in the middle of a career, raising a family and enjoying life to the fullest. WHOA~ What the heck is going on here now?? Stop the merry go round, I want to get off while I still feel good.

That's the reality of living with this nasty disease. It attacks silently and it is ruthless with it's victims, that's for sure. Getting back to being melancholy, I think we all have those kind of moments, don't we? Sick or not? Looking back on your life and grieving what could have been? But, for people with MS, sometimes it's the simplest things we grieve, like being able to take a walk around the block, climbing a flight of stairs or going for a bike ride or run. Things that the average person takes for granted each day, and doesn't pay any mind to on a normal basis. Those simple tasks are longed for by someone afflicted with MS. Some of us can still do some of them, but it's never as easy as it looks. Everything is a BIG deal when you have MS, trust me when I say this, I know.

                                 Some folks affected by MS, can still walk with these type of walking aids.

I have a lady in my Facebook prayer group that posted how much she missed being able to run. That she has gone by the track where she used to run and was grieving those times. I surely can relate to that. I wasn't a runner, but I used to love to go for long fast paced walks with friends around the neighborhood, catching up on everyone's life, what's going on with the kids, school, etc.

One of the things that happens when you get sick is you lose many of your former friends. It's sad, but it's just a reality. Many people can't deal with people around someone who is sick all the time. It's hard for them to understand when you have to cancel because you just can't handle it: you're too tired, your legs don't work, you're in tremendous pain. Being ill with a chronic disease can get very lonely at times.

You may see your old friends every now and then, but in reality, they don't and can't understand what your new life is, and it's easier for them to deal with what they are used to. As the saying goes, "You don't really get MS until you "GET" MS. Sad but so very true. I don't begrudge any of my friends or even family members. They are caught up in living life, and can't understand someone who isn't doing things at the same pace they do. That used to be me, by the way, and it was probably you too, if you have MS and are reading this.

That's why the internet is so wonderful for those of us who are home bound by necessity. You can reach out to anyone on the other side of the world who may be going through exactly what you're going through. The invention of Facebook and other social media sites are straight from God as far as I'm concerned. I have met a whole new group of ladies and men from around the world who are going through the same exact thing as me. They "get it."  We talk, we email, we facebook, we skype, we have made a new life for ourselves out of the ashes of our old life. That's a God-Thing is what I think.

Memories come and go, and it's easy to find yourself caught up in the "pity party" of why did this happen to me Lord?---- if you aren't careful. It's a slippery slope. Everybody has challenges in life. Every single one of us. Feeling Melancholy at times is normal for any of us I think, but dwelling in the past isn't good. It prevents you from living your best right now and your best in the future. If you try to hold onto the past with memories, clinging to the way things used to be, you can easily prevent yourself from grabbing onto the great things God has in store for you right now and in the years to come. What's the old saying " You have to let go of something old before you can grab onto something new?

                            Not always easy to do, but very important when you live with chronic illness.

That's kind of the way it is with MS. If you cling onto the old memories of what your life used to look like, you an so easily get caught up in living in the past, and totally miss the new and exciting future that God has planned for you. MS changes who you are, there's no doubt in my mind about that. It certainly changed me. It made me closer to the Lord. It took me a long time to accept that I had MS and it wasn't going away. I had to kind of re-define myself and looked to my Creator for His help in doing that. All the things that I thought were so important before I got sick I realized pretty quickly that they didn't amount to much. But the Lord has been able to use me in my new life and for that I am very grateful.

I've always thought that one of the reason I got MS was that I could be a much more effective witness for Jesus sick than I ever was healthy. I guess I'll have to ask him about that when I meet Him at the pearly gates. Until then, I'm thankful for the life I have. I'm thankful for my supportive husband, who is my best friend, my confidant, my lover and my caregiver all rolled into one. The Lord has surely used him in all this too. Thank you Jesus for this life you have given me. Help me to use it to Your Glory each day. To suffer for you is an honor and privilege. Thank you for Your amazing Mercy and Grace which greet me anew each day to help and guide me. Help me to live up to Your Word when you say:  "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps: 1 Peter 2:21. Give me the strength to follow in your footsteps each and every day.

                                                          Your Grace and Mercy are new every morning ~

My verse for today is above in red.

My prayer for today:
Dear Heavenly Father:

I don't know why I got sick, but you do. Help me to accept the life I have right now and use it to Your Glory always. Help me to reach out to others who are suffering and show them the way home to you.

I pray,