Thursday, May 2, 2013


Three weeks ago we were sitting in church listening to the second talk in our church's "Suffering: You Are Not Alone" series.  This series was incredible right off the bat.  But this particular week was eye opening for me on two levels.

Did you know that we moralize and minimize suffering?  It's all relative, right?  I find myself judgemental when I hear someone else moralizing another's suffering.

Well, at least its not as bad as Jackie's story.  
Or Ken's life.  
Or, hey, did you hear about so-and-so?  Now that's tragic.  

And the minimizing:

There is always someone else worse off than you are.
There are starving children in ________ (unfortunately, there is a choice of countries here).
The chemo's really not that bad.
So you lost your brother.  It's not like you lost your wife or child.

Oh, you'll be fine.

Or my favorite....absolute SILENCE.  If I say nothing, it doesn't exist.  

I sat, mulling over these approaches to suffering, when suddenly our Pastor asked for a show of hands as to how many people have been diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness.



Not the stranger two pews over. Not Nancy's third husband. Not so-and-so's father.


I placed my hand on his lap as he raised his hand.  As his hand raised, my tears began to fall.  And fall. And fall. And fall.

{For those of you who are new readers, Jeremy was diagnosed with MS just short of 3 years ago}

I am blessed, beyond belief, to have a stubborn husband.  Without his steadfast stubbornness to kick diabetes and MS in the rear, I think I'd have a wet towel schlepping around this house.  Jeremy does not schlep.  The journey to his diagnosis was a rollercoaster.  A wasted ER visit, countless tests, a spinal tap, IV treatments, failed medications and too many unknowns to count.

I sat, as my husband had a needle shoved in between his spine and awed at his ability to be logical and stay still with all the unknowns before us.  I turned my head to fight my tears.  I drove many miles in tears, praying to God that something would change and that this was not happening. I held his hand and gave him quiet assurance that we would handle whatever was to come.  I answered the doctor's questions when he could not. I watched him attend his son's birthday party, clearly in the clouds, realizing a year later that he wasn't able to remember the event.  I watched him go through two agonizing trials with different medications, both of which had more side effects than positive effects.  I watched his anxiousness before MRI appointments and slightly lose his balance on rough days.  I learned to read his symptoms with him speaking a word.  He downplayed everything to everyone else, but as the other half of this crazy partnership, I knew.

We are so incredibly lucky that his MS is slow-progressing.  His medication is working.  We take things one step at a time and pray.  A lot.  We pray in thankgiving.  We pray in need.  We pray for certainty and guidance.  We pray for blessings.

But in that pew, I was faced with the raw- and it was rawwwwwwwww- reality that my husband has multiple sclerosis.

And there is nothing I can do about it.

Me.  The doer.  The fixer of all things because I am the wife, mother, woman. As much as we are blessed and lucky that things are stable, it doesn't take away the bold reality that he has MS.  We're a little spoiled by his success with the disease.  It makes it easy to forget about the disease's possibilities. In that moment, I wanted to curl up next to him in our bed at home and lay for days.  In all of this life's craziness, I wanted to  And use a wand from Harry Potter to create a bubble charm so that I could protect us from further craziness.

I spent the next few days emotionally exhausted and thankful for the jarring reminder.  I think I truly needed that.  We are living proof that this is doable.  We are thriving in the midst of suffering.  We both give each other a learning curve and do our best to respect each other as we plod through this diagnosis.  I try not to minimize when talking to others.  I try really hard.  I don't know how he feels, physically or how he feels completely on an emotional level.  Men are hard to crack in that department.  I do know that he has shown more strength and grace than anyone I've ever met.  I love him more than I ever could have imagined when we met 16 years ago.  Yeah, I'm all mushy.  Deal with it.

Sometimes we all need to be faced with that raw reality.  Jeremy has chosen to thrive in the midst of his suffering.  I admire him and am proud to call him my husband.  He was bold enough to share his story and the choices he's made in the face of chaos.  You can view his story HERE.
{If you do not want to watch the whole thing, start at the beginning and watch through 6:15 and the second part from 21:15 through 23:00}

“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your 
ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are 
higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your 
ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”
Isaiah 55:8-9

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