YouTube video on how you can make a difference
One week from today marks the one-year anniversary of being placed on permanent disability because of my MS. The word ‘permanent’ has taken a long time to accept. My big question ~ replayed nearly every day ~ was, ‘What is my purpose in life now?’ My children are grown up, I had my license revoked for medical reasons, and had moved recently enough to make some shifts in relationships. These shifts meant I lacked some resources I thought I desperately needed.
I spent many months unable to make any significant difference, or so I thought.
Actions truly do speak louder than words. This is true for each of us. It speaks volumes to people how I respond to my situation when ‘in the firing range’. I learned some valuable lessons about what and who was important to me ~ and why. I went on disability on a Friday. The next day we moved my son onto campus at his university. Two days later my husband resumed his travel schedule. I was completely alone and in great need physically. Or so I thought.
The year progressed. I developed several more kidney stones, and my physician placed me on permanent medication to help prevent further ones. (I’m still waiting on that to occur!)
I received a diagnosis of asthma after yet another bout with pneumonia. I know less about asthma than any person ever diagnosed, and my learning curve has been poor at best! It took me down like a violent storm, and I did not know how to respond to such severe and sudden attacks, every breath feeling like I was closer to suffocation. Was this year going to end?
In June, I had a cousin develop an infection. She was slightly older than me, which means she was very young by my standards! Sparing most of the details, physicians removed life support within a short time as her situation turned worse at every stage. In a matter of weeks, she had passed away.
At the same time, I was making great progress physically. As much as I struggle with the conflict of living with MS, I only thrive when I lead a very sedentary life, with opportunities to rest throughout the day. I reassessed. I can make a difference.
- The summer approached at a snail’s pace suddenly. I felt up to doing a few hours’ volunteer work, but had no idea what I was up to doing or how long I could last. I certainly didn’t have a means of transportation. I had an interest in a particular organization, and was a close friend with the director. Within weeks, I had a ride in almost every week, thanks to a staff person who ‘happens’ to live just by me. I was given a couch where I could lie down when I needed to rest. I have taken several naps on that wonderful couch!
- I had a neighbor who provided rides to water aerobics near our home. I began doing real physical activity for the first time in several years! I knew most of my neighbors. You get to know them very well when you are all in swimsuits!!
- I turned around one day and realized that the depth of my realm of genuine friendships. I had an amazing immediate family who has taken great care of me, and I have not gone without my morning cup of coffee yet. : )
- One of those newer friends shared with me the conflicts of watching her dad be put removed from life support. We talked about the emotional struggle created when you have personal involvement in this decision. She called days after he passed away to thank me for the encouraging and supportive comments made during that discussion.
- On my facebook account, I shared with many people the change in my new situation. I became deluged with requests from people who needed someone to pray for their situation. I had all day to pray! A friend’s mom going through surgery? I kept praying hours after it should have been over. The surgery became delayed, it took much longer than anticipated, and I had been praying.
- I have had an accountability group meet at my home every week. We support each other, through the good, the bad, and the ugly! I had friends who had started out as casual friendships. We have become a very strong team, and help fight each others’ battles.
- I have my friends from many years past. They have been precious as they provide the background knowledge of the fight for 14+ years. I had lunch with one of these dear friends today. We shared what was going on in our lives, where we were both headed, and how we can pray for each other.
- I am able to have the time to truly listen ~ listen.
- I write, in my own attempt to encourage others.
- I have someone who is going to pick me up for the opportunity to volunteer a few hours a month at a local theatre, one of my great loves.
It took some time to get my ‘mojo’ back. I gave myself permission to mourn what I had lost, and discovered how much I had gained. I will likely never have the notoriety of being the President or some such position. I discovered this was what I thought was lacking ~ my title. . . not my purpose.
Wherever you are, you have the power to make a powerful difference. You might lead a large corporation. Perhaps you are out of a job entirely. Significant events such as your wedding anniversary, becoming a widow, or living a single life all have value. Someone needs the gifts that you uniquely possess. What a great opportunity ~ Seize the day!
As I was writing this, NBC Nightly News ended with a story about a young lady who make a difference with her day. She wanted to raise funds for clean water in Third World Countries. She passed away unexpectedly before her 9th birthday. The result was stunning. Rachel’s dream has produced over $1 million following her unexpected death.
What are you doing to make a difference? What dreams do you have? It is possible!