When I was little, I wanted to be a teacher…I also wanted to be a scientist, a musician, a secret agent and an architect. Never once did I want to be a person living with a chronic illness. That never even popped into my head. But here I am living with multiple sclerosis. It was never my dream, but it is now my reality.
Have you noticed how when we meet people for the first time, one of our questions in getting to know them is “What do you do?” We associate their career with them as a person. Many times we think of Steve the Engineer and Julie the Mom; JoAnne the Chef and Peter the Landscaper; Chris the Beautician and Frankie the Housekeeper.
We don’t normally think of people in association with their ailments, even when we know what someone is dealing with. It’s not a natural thing to think of people as Steve the one with bad eyesight and Julie the eczema sufferer; JoAnne the one with osteoporosis and Peter with athletes foot; Chris with heart disease and Frankie with diabetes.
Those things may be what they are battling daily. They may require lots of attention, hospital stays and med to manage, but those things are not who they are as a person. Neither their ailments nor their careers are who they are. Each person is so much more.
When someone thinks of you they may think of what you do for a living and the fact that you have MS…but those are not normally their first thoughts. The first thing that pops into their head when your name is mentioned is how you make them feel. They think of your contagious smile, kind eyes, faithfulness, and creativity. They also think of those negative things we like to hide such as your insecurities, anger, and lack of patience.
MS is big to you because you can’t go through even one minute without a reminder of its existence in your life. You may spend a lot of time managing your disease, but don’t neglect working on the person that you are. You are the guru creator of that person. Be the best YOU that you can be in spite of MS!
By the way, I happen to think you are amazing!