Friday, March 27, 2009

Claiming Joy

a conscious choice every minute, every day

Music is my touchstone--listening to favorite artists and songs transports me from my own island to a place that can be peaceful, or worshipful, or upbeat and fun: depending on the artist I choose to listen to. In the same vein, opening the blinds to let in sunshine; 'rolling' with my dog Willis around the neighborhood; or even getting dressed and moving to the living room couch are all choices and challenges that I can make throughout my days. Some days it takes as much mental and physical energy to open I-Tunes and play music as it would to go outside with my dog--and neither happen.
How then do I claim joy? To clarify, I am separating what I can do from an internal decision that isn't dependent on the circumstances that I find myself in. Many have heard me say that I can't control what MS is doing to my body (see new link '10 Illnesses Doctors Don't Understand' under the Understanding MS heading)but I can choose how I go through any given day.
I see myself as living on a deserted isle, The Kingdom of MS, and I, much as Tom Hanks in Castaway, have to carve out from an inhospitable environment a life that is worth living. The difference from the movie is that my island plunked down into the middle of my life and it continues to sit like a treacherous submerged tree snag just under the surface. Others can visit my island--but never truly live there.
One of my favorite sections of scripture is found in Lamentations--reputed to be the saddest book of the bible. In chapter 3 Jeremiah stands among the ruins of his dreams and life--and in a moment that serves as a powerful touchstone for me--he chooses to turn his mind from his circumstances and praise the Almighty. Too often I allow the outward manifestations of my disease dictate my internal world. This section of scripture inspires me take a different path.
So, this morning, when I have had a headache for almost three weeks; when I woke up more fatigued than when I went to bed; when my hands and arms are twitching; I will drag my behind out of bed and open the blinds, turn on music, and choose Joy. I can't imagine surviving without making this choice over and over again.

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