This month marks the seventh anniversary of finding out I had multiple sclerosis. I was stunned. Irrationally, I was certain that I had already been through enough hard stuff, so I shouldn't have to deal with any more. I lost an eye in a childhood accident. I was widowed at the age of 39 and raised four children by myself. But I worked my way to a lucrative career and we thrived. Nothing kept me down. Now, surely, this was my time of reward for surviving all those struggles.
Well, as we all know, life does not work like that. There is no cosmic balance sheet of adversity vs. good fortune. It was just my time to face another bad thing. But I didn't want to, damn it!
The disease progressed and I started a downward spiral. My high powered career and life began to crumble. Loss mounted upon loss. And I was consumed by bitterness and anger.
Devastated by my deterioration, I became virtually homebound. Everything I loved was slipping away.
Full of resentment, I was tired of picking myself up. But so many sources were sending me the same message: pray. And if you can't pray, just say "Give me strength" over and over. To not make the effort seemed like a slap in the face to all the people who love me and give me credit for being braver than I really am. I knew I had to choose to pick myself up once again.
Jersey Shore, United States