Saturday, September 29, 2007

Snow & Grace...

On rare occasions, if I am paying close attention, LIFE will knock loudly at my door with the most profound of questions. These questions will come to me disguised in many forms, from the strangest of sources, at the most peculiar times. Today, LIFE knocked with her question...

As many of you may recall, I have been asked to sit upon a state-wide committee/task force regarding recent legislative changes in safety issues concerning mental health workers. I am both honored by this task and also at times overwhelmed. It is hard work, it takes up some of my free time, and I am not always the most "patient of saints" when it comes to functioning in political arenas. But, there ARE a few people also sitting on this committee who have been interesting to get to know and who's opinions challenge many of my own.

It is from this task force committee I met "Bea"...Bea is the chairwoman who is compiling endless data in the most brilliant of ways in hopes of us meeting our legislative deadline by the end of the year. She presents herself with poise and a depth of understanding that could only come from years of self-examination.

On Wednesday at my latest committee meeting, I had to inform Bea I would need to "telecommute" to the next scheduled "pow wow" because I would be home recovering from my Novantrone infusion...I, at first, only told her I was receiving "chemo" the day before our next meeting. But her puzzled and concerned look opened the door to me disclosing I was being treated for MS...after all, I didn't want her to think I had the dreaded "cancer" or something! LOL

The exchange between us was very brief...neither of us really KNOW each other at all and have only met in person twice. She wished me well and I departed the meeting to return to the regular grind of my job that day without further thought of our conversation.

Today, I received an email from Bea with a request for some information pertaining to our committee. At the very end of the email, she wrote a personal note that said this:

So sorry to hear about your health issue. Are you managing it OK? What is it teaching you?

Warm regards,

And so it was, LIFE knocked loudly at my door, asking me once again, "What is MS teaching you?" I was/am surprised by the profundity of which this question has stirred around in my mind all day. I was equally surprised at the level of difficulty I encountered finding the right word(s) to describe my "lesson".

After pondering this question from LIFE, I eventually responded with this:

In response to your personal inquiry about my health, yes...I am "managing" well. Thank you for asking. What Multiple Sclerosis has taught me is simply put: Grace.

Best to you,

Linda D

Sometimes I am jealous of the language of the Inuit/Eskimo's...they have over 100 words for the English word "snow". (Actually, this is somewhat of an urban legend or, at the very least, a misuse of what defines a "word"...but I like the idea all the same. LOL) This is because "snow" is such an every day, multi-faceted, integral part of their world. They live it, breathe it, drink it, pray in it, build with it, and consider themselves a part of it...snow.

If I could have 100 words to describe my definition of "grace", I still believe I would fall short in my description and not do the word justice. It is a state of being for me, a flexibility, a mind set, a place, a verb, a noun, a joy and a sorrow, and this very moment in time. It is all that is in me and around me, regardless of Multiple Sclerosis, the great teacher and catalyst of my state of "grace".

And, it remains at times, elusive and as magical as the falling snow...sometimes only resting briefly on the tip of my tongue and melting back into my mouth, quietly quenching my thirst.


pb said...

One day when I was still sick from the Solumedrol, a lady stopped to tell me she was praying that my "chemo" would go easier!

Well, it is sort of a chemo, but the illness is not usually life-threatening.

I thanked her for her prayers and now include her in mine. Even Steven.

Merelyme said...

This was a truly beautiful post. Grace...yes I like that. I am new to all this MS stuff so I suppose my first lesson is what can be found in the serenity prayer...I am learning I cannot control everything in my life. Faith, a letting go, a quiet settling in. Not a giving up by any means but an acknowledgement that I don't need to be super woman in order to be a worthy human being.

Very good post. I will be thinking about this for a long time.

Have myelin? said...

Now I'm going to go around confused today. Grace.

That was a profound post, Linda. I feel as I've been FIGHTING, trying to control my MS so it doesn't take control of me.

This will be on my mind awhile. Thanks for a very insightful post...

Sharon said...

Once again an amazing post. Just reading it brings a calmness. I think that is a question we should all ask ourselves. I don't know if I could sum it up in one word. You really have me thinking.

Bubbie said...

My brain is not properly equipped to handle such profundities today. My new interferon treatment has left me with what appears to be a never ending headache.
Someone asked me that question a couple of years back. My answer then was different from what it would be now.
Then my answer was "boundries". It was something I needed and never could allow myself to impose before MS. I learned to say NO. (after 40 + years..better late than never)
Now, my answer is different but it needs more contemplation...I'll have to get back to you when my brain clears.

Sara said...

I can't say what MS has taught me, I just know that "thanks to it" (not sure how to say it) I've found an awesome blogging buddy :)

In my 29 years and 9 months of life so far I think the biggest thing I've learned is taking it one day at a time (but then again maybe that's just what I've picked up from watching me mum and her 12 step program) either way, it's how I'm trying to live my life.

Weather here is still crap, hope yours got better, have a good weekend my dear, xx

harkoo said...

What a beautiful piece of writing Linda. I will just have to relax and think about it for awhile before I can absorb it all.

Peej said...

Ok... I've read this over and over again for days now and I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would ask what an illness was "teaching" you. And, how in hell do you get GRACE out of this?

I must be totally out of it -- I just don't get it at all.

Casdok said...

Life does make you think dosnt it!