swim

Giving up is not an option

We live our lives in a crazy, seemingly unending fog. A fog filled with fears, doubts, unemployment, financial uncertainty, strained relationships, health problems, depression…so many difficulties and troubles. Sometimes we feel like giving up because we don’t have the strength to stay afloat any longer. Other times it’s just because we don’t know where we’re going and how long it will take to get there.

Let me tell you a story of someone who gave up…

It was a fog-filled morning, July 4, 1952, when a young woman named Florence Chadwick waded into the water off Catalina Island. She intended to swim the channel from the island to the California coast. Long-distance swimming was not new to her; she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.

The water was numbingly cold that day. The fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her party. Several times sharks had to be driven away with rifle fire. She swam more than 15 hours before she asked to be taken out of the water. Her trainer tried to encourage her to swim on since they were so close to land, but when Florence looked, all she saw was fog. So she quit…only one-mile from her goal. Later she said, “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

Two months later, Florence got back in the water to try once more. This time was different. She swam from Catalina Island to the shore of California in a straight path for twenty six miles. The same thick fog set in, but this time Florence made it because she said while she swam, she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind. Florence Chadwick became the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel! It took her two tries, but she did it. She did what many thought impossible to do.

How many times have you felt like throwing your hands up and asking those in the boat to pull you in? How many times have you felt like quitting because life was simply too hard? How many times have you lost sight of the shore and not had the courage to keep going?

I want to encourage you today to never give up. Refuse to let your problems beat you. There is always a way to get through the difficult times. Always! Those times when you feel as if you are drowning and there is no end in sight,  don’t let your inability to see the end stop you. Keep going.

When the struggle gets tough consider Florence Chadwick’s words: “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.” You can make it. I know you can. Fight through the fog, dodge the sharks, keep your focus on the end even when there is no end in sight. Don’t allow your inability to see stop you. Keep pressing forward one stroke at a time. You are closer to the shore than you think.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  


About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

17 replies
  1. Susie
    Susie says:

    Sometimes “not giving up” can easily be translated to “never stop adapting”. It’s heartbreaking every time a piece of what made you feel normal crumbles away, but there is always opportunity to turn a situation on its head and get some perspective. Then you can try to figure out to start with a new normal.

  2. Marc Sanders says:

    Giving up is too easy and dangerous. If you give up once then it makes it easier to give up the next time. As a husband and father of two boys, 11 and 8, giving up is not an option I choose to take.

  3. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    I’m just pleased that we don’t have someone else’s ‘snore line ‘ to look for we make our own and that is something to go for. It may be getting up or having a shower, having breakfast etc.I try not to think to much on what I have lost but try to adapt to the new life and make it work for me. This is one of my “shorelines” in my life I can focus on.

  4. Pixie Boris says:

    That’s my thing with this … Okay, I’m fighting it . But, what else? And when… The past 6 months I can see it in myself that it’s not going well…

    • Rodger Ashton-Smith
      Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

      Don’t give yourself a false picture just look for what you can do today. This is also true for anyone even the ‘successful’ people I didn’t think where I was going but learnt a lot from my diagnose to now seems a long ‘up an down’ time I could never have believed if you told me 30 years ago. But I still alive and waiting.

Comments are closed.