Saturday, September 30, 2006
I've been asked a few times if I really have MS and why I don't talk about it much. It's a fair question and one that I actually do spend quite a bit of time contemplating. Much of my attitude can be attributed to my upbringing I suppose. My parents taught me though deed and word. Sometimes they were unaware of it. Really, a synergistic effect of observations of people I grew up with and actually learning lessons from my parents. I've come to believe that hard work will only get you so far, but if your gains in the world are not accompanied by earning a bit of your daily bread by the sweat of your brow, the accomplishments are hollow.
I've also learned that one should not be compelled to live as a slave to others. The bread you work so hard to earn is yours. You may do with it as you please. I choose to use my bread to feed my children and celebrate with my friends. At times, I even choose to bestow this worthy gain on others in charity under the eyes of God. And then some of my bread, it is taken by the Officials of the government. Caesar, if you will. These potentates, who say they will provide me with services and facilities, often do. Police, roads, infrastructure, protection. Things that make it possible for me to earn my bread easier. And then there are other who believe it is my DUTY to labor for their gain. The believe it is unconscionable that I should have the capability to labor, build and acquire without considering those who cannot labor. I understand that mentality. I struggled under it's weight for many years. The difficulty is evaluating who should be victimized for their ability to work, and who should gain for their inability. This is where my patience runs down and my mercy is strained. Like a satin sheet wrapped about a reeking pile of rubbish ... the stench of malice and sharp corners of distrust start to become evident.
I, a component of the Multiple Sclerosis population, (I am Legion; for we are many) know all too well the pain of knowing I could do so much more. The slow degradation of capability, the leaching away of potential. Emotional, spiritual and physical damage pile on as the 4th horseman, despair, flanks in and deals a mortal blow. Solace in the form of Family, God and Country are my only defense. Perhaps the quixotical sages of science and medicine could be of help. But they are a slow moving and sometimes more of an antagonist than a detached yet benevolent savior. No, Instead of compelling others to become my servants for they are capable, I've dedicated myself to taking what tools I have left and using them to build a better world for my children, my wife, my family, my country. And in doing this, being a better child for my God. You see, I was granted the free will to make this choice and I would like to believe that it is the DESIRE of God that I make selfless choices that do not drag others down. There are others out there who truly NEED to be taken care of. Knowing this, how can I abscond with the treasure of others that would serve better as charity? Should they chose to do so. Some day, I may be in a position where I too will require the charity of others to survive, but that day is hopefully long off and I have the presence of mind to prepare for that.
I too can be selfish at times, heaping upon my plate the sins of gluttony, sloth, lust and greed. I am by no means among the sinless. As I grow older and hopefully wiser, I am seeing that these are not sins against God, but sins against my own soul. Living for the welfare of my family, God and country is a choice I make willingly knowing full well that it will not cure my ailing body, but will certainly produce in ten-fold a bountiful harvest of contentment and happiness for my soul.
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