IN THE BEGINNING


A defining moment in one’s life is discovering who you are in the face of struggle; uncovering that the answer to prayers is not what was expected. It is a feeling, a sign or a spoken word that sets life in a new direction. I have been at this point of self-discovery, and learned, “Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats” (Voltaire).   

Family unity
My illness came with no warning signs. I showed none of the symptoms often experienced by others diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I simply woke up one morning – completely numb.  I seldom get sick and believe it better to “give the headache than to get one”.  Busy raising three teenagers, enjoying twenty-five years of marriage, actively volunteering in my community, and working a fulfilling career all left me no “downtime” for sickness. But, sometimes the places we are meant to be and destined to go are not of our own design.

The exact morning of my first symptom was recorded in many photographs, as the day happened to be my oldest child’s high school graduation. None of my confusion or concern can be seen through the frames of these photos. The day belonged to my daughter and any worry about my health would have to wait. I simply put on the armor of my faith and waited it out.

I did not have to wait long.  It was MS! I have MS! What the Heck is MS?! 
Biomedical Engineering


I wish I could say I was a sponge absorbing every piece of information out there pertaining to this disease. I wish I had been a better student with an aptitude for human anatomy and science, rather than feeling like the doctors were speaking in foreign tongue to me. Without understanding the magnitude of the illness, I broke the news to family and friends all the while acting like I had a case of the Flu. I was OK and would be OK. All would be OK.   Big mistake trying to act in control when my armor was being torn apart.

I have always been a person of Hope. My Hope takes a supernatural quality, as having the ability to look past obvious circumstances presented and gaze into the unknown with confidence and anticipation.  Some call it faith. Others grace. I choose to believe in a connection with the Divine which allows me to cast fear aside and trust. All of what I believed about myself, my God and my “superpowers” are tested by my illness.

The man by my side, Ken, who I often refer to as my soul mate and partner in all things was to be my rescue. Ken has the gift of finding humor in all situations. I remember telling him when I first noticed my numbness, and Ken having suffered an athlete’s chronic back and knee pain looking me in the eyes and chortling, “I would kill to be numb!” I laughed so hard at this ridiculous comment.  My pain was his pain. My sorrow was his sorrow.  But never would he offer pity or let me give up. His certain brand of humor and quick wit would be the only medicine he offered and the only thing I needed.    

On my knees in the church I love, before the God I worship; I am ashamed to admit at times feeling abandoned. I cannot shake the loss of faith or deny the “why me” question.  I prayed, pleaded and begged for healing, strength and that my symptoms would no longer progress. I could live with my disability as it was – please don’t let it progress.  But it continued to advance leaving me once more to face unanswered prayers.


Hands Of Praying
But that was all to change with 6 simple words. Words that had been spoken to me so many times before, but now I heard them differently. The message & gesture so sweet and simple; I was taken completely off guard and wonderfully lifted to a place of healing. On an ordinary Sunday in January with gray skies overhead and a chill in the air, I received my answer and sign. All those prayers lifted high but seemly forgotten would be brought into the light. All my feelings of abandonment and doubt seem to vanish.  I knew I was not alone, physically or spiritually.                                           

With his outstretched hand to support my walking, in a whispered tone, Ken simply said,  
“Do not worry – I got you”.  And in that instance – I found my healing.

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