Oh, the Places You Will Go!
“And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.
On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.”
When someone tells you that you have Multiple Sclerosis the first thing you think of is the places you might not be going. But what you never dream of is all the places you will.
A lot of times we think being “sick’’ means that things are taken away from us when really it’s just a learning process of doing things in a different way. It means accepting changes as an adventure and not a burden even when you want so badly to crawl beneath a rock feeling sorry for yourself. It means getting off your butt and doing the stuff you never thought twice about. It means enjoying life every moment of every day and not taking one little thing for granted. It’s beautiful really.
An illness takes your sense of control. But in the end were we ever really in it? Did we ever anticipate the storms before they came? Would it matter if we did? Even in them God would still be God – we would still be His.
It’s hard – some days more than others. It’s hard not to think about the future. But there’s something to be said, as my friend Bug would say, about living on the growing edge of life. If you have never walked on life’s ledge it is a beautiful and terrifying place all at once. It is fully embracing all that other people take for granted and in having your arms COMPLETELY full of the present-tense you are left with – nothing to steady you but two wobbly feet. It is like being a little bird moving further and further from the branch of the familiar . . .
God was pushing me from my nest and I didn’t know if I could fly. “Stop! Stop!” I urged. But God kept gently pushing until I was right at the tippy-tip of the flimsiest little limb I had ever walked on in my life.
But what is so great about flimsy little limbs you ask? They meant I had to learn to use my wings and stop relying on my own feet so much. It meant that I had to accept life in a new way. It meant I must not only move forward but look upward. It meant I had nothing left but wobbly feet and that gave me an extraordinary opportunity . . . It meant I had no choice but to FLY.
There is one giant misconception about being “sick”. Your dreams are down the drain. But just like that little bird we talked about – there comes a time when it is best for us to stop using our feet and start using our wings. And the honest to goodness truth is that NOTHING CAN STOP GOD’S GOOD PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE. Nothing, as Paul said, “Absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.”
When I was a girl, I loved Dr. Seuss. I remember sitting in my old cedar closet with nothing but a flash light and a book that smelled like our small town’s 80-year-old-library. Growing up in an abusive, broken home – it was my hideaway. It was where I could REALLY go anywhere, do anything, be anyone . . . get away from EVERYONE.
Inside that closet the words of Dr. Seuss taught me about cats in hats and goldfish of many colors, about what it would be like if a kid like me ran the circus . . . but he also taught me that life goes on. It is constantly moving forward. There are always new adventures and always new challenges . . . Things are going to pop up that you can’t even pronounce. Life has plenty of Lorax-es and whatch-a-ma-hoos! This just means there is even more to look forward to, far more to explore and much more to conquer.
If you are going through a life changing illness or walking with something that is simply life changing . . . stop thinking of where you CANNOT go and start thanking God for where you can. Like Paul said . . . sometimes it might APPEAR that we are sheep being led to the slaughter – but in all actuality we are simply on the way to God’s goodness, to knowing Him more intimately, to trusting Him more fully. We are, after all, more than conquerors through Him who loved us first and if you are being led by the ONE who loved you before time began . . .
Oh, the places you will go!