Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dealing...Which car should I miss?

Continuing this theme of being candid about what it is like to live with MS. It seems to target the nerve or nerves most critical to your lifestyle. It's weird like that, unique in some ways to the individual and some things the same across the board. Fatigue, for instance. Every MS patient I have met has to fight this. Not everyone loses their vision or their balance. It hit my optic nerve; hit it hard. For a teacher that is a death knell, a career stopper.
Image courtesy of Microsoft
Driving is a symbol of independence. So giving up the car keys was another hurdle. What helped me make that decision was that I realized that driving myself to pottery class used up all my energy and left none for doing what I went there to do. That was dumb. I had to drive extra distance to make a left turn so I had a stop light because I could not tell which one of those three oncoming cars to avoid. Yes, I saw three cars when there was only one. Every drive was a "white knuckle" event. Dumb again. I asked the husband of one of the ladies in the class if he could please drop me off at my husband's office. When I told him the reason he saluted, said he'd be happy to and thanked me on behalf of all the drivers on the road for my eminent wisdom!    
Image courtesy of Microsoft
And depth perception? Well there is little to none. I feel for the curb with my toe. It all looks flat to me but the curb is often clearly marked so I know it is there. The first step is a hard one! The pain memory from a couple times of stepping off as if it were flat helps you remember to check! You only do it once or twice.

And the Lord calls me to be a writer knowing all about these difficulties! I have taken the stance that I want to learn everything I can learn from this disease--milk it for all it's worth! I believe that God only gives good gifts and even things that don't look like gifts to me might contain some gold so I didn't fold up and sit in a pity party (not for long anyway). I will not judge God or His Word by my experience; rather I will judge my experience by His word. He is good. I figured if He asked me to do this then I either already had the resources, needed to use the resources I have differently, or He would supply what was yet needed. The computer is a great resource. I enlarged my fonts and made the lines at 1.5--viola the lines no longer run into each other.
Image courtesy of Microsoft

Just talking or thinking about the difficulties makes me tired. I have much more energy if I keep my thoughts joy filled or if I dialogue with God as I am doing a task. It is as if I can draw energy from Him whereas when I focus on a difficulty it is like letting go of my energy source. Consequently, I don’t talk about it much. And this is about enough for today…I need to get back  into joy or I will lose the rest of the day! I hope this gives you a bit of insight into what my life is like with a chronic condition.

St. Paul said that he gloried in his infirmities. I look at that and shake my head, confiding in God that I am not there yet and don't know if I ever will be. One day in the kitchen sweeping, the thought flew through my head that I wondered how God saw all of the derailments and hard things in my life. About two hours later I gasped because I was looking at all those events from His point of view. I don’t know how He does that—must be like a Vulcan mind meld! All I could do was say, “Thank you, Lord! Thank you!”

From His point of view each place that I had felt would “be my home” and I would stay there for the rest of my life—each place was a temporary assignment. I assumed it was a place to put my roots down deep. Erroneously I thought I had come into my destiny, so when the assignment came to an end and I had to move on I was hurt and confused. It was a temporary assignment to gain a skill set or hone a skill and gain expertise that I would need in the next assignment. The final derailment was this MS attack. From God’s point of view it works perfectly to give me the time to write the things that are on His heart, and that truly is my destiny: to be His friend and scribe, to stay just one step behind Jesus so I won't get lost and am close enough to hear what He says and write it down without the distractions of a teaching career, papers to grade, committee meetings and assignments...politics (ugh). I am closer to glorying in my infirmity than I have ever been before. At least I am grateful, and I have found my way back to joy.
How about you? How are you dealing with the “hard thing” in your life? What helps you keep your faith and perspective? I would love for you to share your story of how the enemy meant for your destruction but God turned things around for you. It would be a big encouragement to us all!

Blessings, Carol…making it plain
Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive

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