30 Days of Thanks – Day 29

My 30-day journey is almost at its end, and as I was thinking about items to highlight today, I was reading different articles and blog posts. I then happened upon the newest entry from a blogger whose perspectives I’ve come to value during the past few years of my MS journey. Then I realized that today, July 30, marks exactly seventeen years since my official diagnosis. (In the words of this blogger a few days ago, my MS can almost vote.) It’s become an intrinsic part of my life, whether I wanted it to or not.

So today’s post? Trevis Gleason talked of wanting a “day off from MS.” As he says (and I totally agree!), it’s not that he’s depressed and needs a pill for that and not that a nap would make it all better, he’s just tired of the bag that he has been toting for those years (seventeen here), and the things that keep being added to the bag. It does get heavier. That in itself gets tiring.

So I know I won’t be taking a day off or setting down the “MS bag,” but I decided that today’s 5 things would be things I’ve had the opportunity to be thankful for in the midst of multiple sclerosis. Sometimes there are things I couldn’t have experienced if not for the scar-monger that is this disease.

5 Thankful things appreciated more due to MS
1. Others’ examples – I recall seeing the movie “Joni!” when I was young, about Joni Eareckson Tada and her experience. Among my readings today, I discovered that today, my 17th diagnosis anniversary, marks exactly 47 years since Joni haphazardly dove into too-shallow water at summer camp. The inspiring ministry that Joni developed years after this event makes me stop and think. She is certainly an inspiration to me in many ways.

2. the ADA – When President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990 I had no idea that this piece of legislation would one day make it possible for me to enter buildings, park reasonably, and have simpler access to parts of life that I take for granted too often. 

3. unique teaching opportunities – I enjoy teaching others (hence the college degrees in education), and I certainly wouldn’t have predicted the live lessons I would be called to teach. Many of them are never written, just experienced. But people are frequently asking for input or assistance in facing issues that would be foreign to me if not for MS. Credibility through obvious experience, I suppose.

4. deeper relationships – My husband doesn’t particularly feel the need to be lifted up as an example, but MS (and its “bag”) has forced the development of a deeper relationship, I think you could say. I don’t often include photos in my blog, but a particular picture has gleaned many comments and questions on Facebook… remembering the beach wheelchair I mentioned on Day 23 of this Thankful Journey, this photo clearly shows the tenderness of my dear husband. (I’ll let that picture be worth the proverbial thousand words.)


5. our Father’s love – I certainly didn’t require MS to receive the gift of God’s love, but the weakness this malady amplifies helps paint the picture of my need for His grace. One of the scripture verses I cling to is in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. “ Then the following verse ends with Paul’s statement, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (ESV)

And this journey continues… but likely more deeply than it otherwise would,

Trevis ended his musings sharing that it would be nice to LIVE without MS, but since that isn’t currently an option, I’ll live with MS. I’ll add that I may be living with MS, and I may not desire the MS part, but I DO desire to be used just as I am. Whatever that means.