Have you ever felt like your whole life was falling apart right before your very eyes and no matter how hard you tried you couldn’t do anything to stop it? That the very ones you thought would stand beside you forever turned and walked away? That in each passing day a wave of hopelessness flooded your heart and clouded your mind, inching you closer and closer to simply giving up? That just the thought of facing one more day filled your heart with tremendous pain and fear? If you have ever felt this way before, just know that you are not alone. I have been there too.
People who know me, know that I’m not a quitter…I never have been. I face everything with the confidence that I will overcome. But there have been times when I’ve felt like giving up and waving the white flag of defeat. I’m not immune to having the feelings of being overwhelmed, weak and uncertain.
I read a story once about Emperor Tamerlane who was badly defeated in battle. He ran from the battle and hid himself away in a barn. Enemy troops searched the countryside for him. By this time he was depressed, his troops had been terribly defeated and scattered, and he didn’t know what he was going to do.
Suddenly he noticed an ant trying to push a giant kernel of corn up over a stone wall. As he watched this ant attempt to do the impossible, he counted its futile efforts to see how many times the ant would try until it gave up.
One, two, three… twenty… forty… sixty-nine times the ant tried and failed to push the kernel over the wall. But in one last push, on the seventieth try, the ant made it. Leaping to his feet, Tamerlane excitedly said to the ant, “If you can do it, then so can I.” That day he changed his outlook, reorganized his forces, went back and soundly defeated the enemy.
Just like that ant pushing the kernel of corn, we are pushing the impossible up over the wall every day. Living with Multiple Sclerosis, I get interesting responses from people as to why I am not healed and how I need to simply try a little harder.
I have heard everything from “you need more faith” to “have you tried this new diet that worked for my great aunt’s, second cousin’s, friend.” Regardless of the response, people need to understand that just because someone is living with a chronic illness or going through a difficult time in their life, that doesn’t mean they have done something wrong or that they aren’t trying with everything within them to push through.
Every day we are attempting the impossible, and just like that ant we fail more than once. We push, get exhausted, try again, fail, rest, but still get up and try some more. Our entire life has become one giant push. We push through pain, weakness, dizziness, blurred vision, muscle spasms, and lack of sleep. We push and keep on pushing at everything we do. Nothing comes easy, not even something as simple as a trip to the mailbox.
Everything we do, we do with tremendous strength, determination and courage. We fight, we push, and we get discouraged. Sometime we need a little ant to remind us that we can do it. That this fight is worth it. That we can make it.
Today, let me be that ant…don’t quit. Don’t let the fact that MS is a part of your life cause you to feel defeated. You can’t stop trying. You can’t stop pushing that kernel of corn. Don’t let MS win. You got this.