Cracks in the sidewalk

I think I’m cracked

Hopscotch was a favorite game of mine as a kid. We would draw the board with chalk on the sidewalk and play for hours. There was one area of the sidewalk, though, where we didn’t play the game. A tree had been growing next to the concrete slab in the sidewalk, and as the tree grew bigger and bigger so did the roots which caused cracks and lumps in the sidewalk.

We would skateboard across the cracks and ride our bikes over them, but you had to be careful not to hit them in just the right spot or you would fall to the ground with a thud. I had my fair share of bruises from those kinds of falls.

Cracks in the concrete are reminders to me that you can fall apart no matter how strong you think you are. When I look back at my life, I had great expectations. My career was flourishing and my future plans were laid out. I was strong, achieving great things, moving forward, and they BAM… a crack showed up in my life called Multiple Sclerosis and changed everything. It knocked me to the ground and left me in a daze wondering “what just happened.”

MS changed everything. At first, I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was a hard thing to come to terms with. Then as the months went by and the progression continued to worsen, I realized that MS wasn’t simply going away. No amount of denial would force my life back to the way it used to be.

Change is hard. We all hate change, but life is constantly changing and it’s important we learn to shift with those changes. It’s different when we have to shift our meal preference for the day or shift the places we go for vacation, but to shift your entire life due to a chronic illness…that just doesn’t seem fair. But I don’t look at life as fair and unfair. I see it as an opportunity to grow and become a better person or to sit stewing in anger and become bitter.

Am I going to let MS defeat me or am I going to allow something beautiful to grow from my life? Cracks in sidewalks can grow weeds or flowers and I want mine to grow flowers. It’s a choice we all have to make.

Don’t let that crack in the concrete change you to the point that you focus on the wrong things. Now is the time to change with the changes, but in a good way. MS will affect how you do things, but never let it change you into a negatively focused person.

There’s enough negativity in the world already. Find a little ray of sunshine and step into it. You may be cracked, but beauty can still come out of you if you let it. I believe in you.

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.

20 replies
  1. Anne
    Anne says:

    MS definitely snuck up on me and my plans stopped. Still trying to get my head in the game again. It’s taking me much longer than I’d have hoped. But denial wasn’t my friend.
    Here now and now is all can manage. Thanks everyone for the positive and some optimistic posts. God bless.

  2. Doug Wineburner
    Doug Wineburner says:

    I REMEMBER DOING HOPSCOTCH ON CONCRETE AND RIDING MY BIKE HITTING CRACKS ON SIDEWALKS JUSTY LIKE ANYTHING ELSE WE STILL GET THROUGH IT

  3. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I was a bit ‘cracked’ before my diagnosis, and I can often face the difficulties with humour, but this past week has been rough. Therefore, your words of encouragement, while always appreciated, are especially treasured this week. I’ve found myself over-whelmed and discouraged by the smallest things this week: a snide remark, a lack of recognition or appreciation for picking up the slack when a colleague was away, being spoken to as though my intelligence left with my diagnosis, etc. I think a single crack is manageable, but when they accumulate, we find ourselves on a path that is no longer manageable. Thanks for being a light, putting yourself on a hill to illuminate the road for the rest of us, and for keeping us going when we’d like to quit. You rock!

  4. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Change is the way of life for me. Even before MS I had a lot of change happen so I took that MS was just another change. I remember the Rush song Circumstances when they say ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’. This does ring true and it’s not what affects us bodily so much but what doesn’t change in our head.
    That image you give about the flowers also reminds me ‘Even in a rubbish heap daisies will grow’. We can produce beautiful things from our damaged lives if we want to.

  5. Roland Clarke
    Roland Clarke says:

    Plenty of cracks in my life but I’ll keep scattering seeds in them, especially after your inspirational post. It will have to be snowdrops with all the snow outside here in Idaho.

  6. Adam Carroll says:

    Its reminded me of this verse from The Real Me by The Who. This certainly rings true:

    The cracks between the paving stones
    Look like rivers of flowing veins
    Strange people who know me
    Peeping from behind every window pane
    The girl I used to love
    Lives in this yellow house
    Yesterday she passed me by
    She doesn’t want to know me now
    Can you see the real me?
    Can ya?…

    • Kathy
      Kathy says:

      I was a bit ‘cracked’ before my diagnosis, and I can often face the difficulties with humour, but this past week has been rough. Therefore, your words of encouragement, while always appreciated, are especially treasured this week. I’ve found myself over-whelmed and discouraged by the smallest things this week: a snide remark, a lack of recognition or appreciation for picking up the slack when a colleague was away, being spoken to as though my intelligence left with my diagnosis, etc. I think a single crack is manageable, but when they accumulate, we find ourselves on a path that is no longer manageable. Thanks for being a light, putting yourself on a hill to illuminate the road for the rest of us, and for keeping us going when we’d like to quit. You rock!

  7. Mary Parsons says:

    Think of yourself as the flower struggling through the concrete to make it to the sunshine to bloom. The strength it takes to live each day despite the obstacles in your way. I don’t know what it’s like to have MS. I hope you don’t think I’m making light of your situation. I have other health issues, both physical and mental. I can see myself as both the concrete and the flower.

  8. Julie Haines Hoddes says:

    Beautifully written again. I share your posts with friends and family because you are able to put into words exactly what my life is like now. Without any swear words!! Thanks Penelope xx

  9. susan g
    susan g says:

    I want to thank you for allowing me the ability to listen and be part of the world of you and those of you with MS- to learn – to try to understand – to process how MS is grappled with – i am the mother of a beautiful young woman of 29 – who , this year – just a few months ago , has discovered
    that she has MS -RRMS –and from the bottom of my heart- i am so grateful that these avenues of knowledge and support are here -God bless every one of you with MS – thank you for letting all of us be part of your journies –

  10. Kathleen Kane says:

    We may be cracked, but we are NOT broken. <3 Thank you for the wonderful inspiration you provide to us. It's a great reminder that we can get through it a minute at a time.

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