How can we ever predict the future? How would we ever know what will happen tomorrow, and whether that something will be positive or negative?
The interesting thing about labeling things "good," or "bad," is that these are our own interpretations of events. There is no way to determine what the outcome of our experiences might be. Our only option is to truly wait and see, living only in the moment, and not a second after.
As a child, I was convinced that I was destined to become a famous Broadway actress. I loved to act, sing and dance, performing in numerous community theatre productions. I had big dreams, and no one was going to steer me away from them. Being on a stage made me feel a way I had never felt before, and I recall looking out into those glaring stage lights that hid the audience from view, belting out songs I would have been far too shy to sing to my own family in a small room.
Life has a tendency to steer us in directions we may not have imagined. The best written plans typically fall away, evolving into forgotten memories, as we march along our paths.
Recently, during a chat with my mom, she made a very interesting comment on my life. "All those years of wanting to achieve something great, and of all things, MS is what made that happen." I took a moment and really let that statement sink in, and I slowly realized that my greatest impact on the world might indeed be a result of multiple sclerosis. Who would have ever imagined that on my day of diagnosis? The day that life felt as though it had come to an end, that there was no hope, and all was lost. At that moment, my diagnosis was definitely the lowest point in my life, the biggest "bad" event I had ever experienced.
Looking back, however; it has led me to incredible places, and allowed me to connect with some of the most inspiring, caring people throughout the world. It has allowed me to pursue my old passion of writing, allowed me to slow my professional medical career and spend more time with my children and husband. It has given me strength and perseverance, tested my resolve, and shown me that I am not a weak minded person. It has challenged me physically, but strengthened me psychologically. I no longer question whether I am loved, or whether those who truly care about me will stick by my side in tough times.
I received a beautiful comment on my previous blog, from a reader in Australia just before writing this. She told me that she is a mother who was recently diagnosed, and that my writing has helped her cope with her illness. Being able to reach out across continents virtually, and make even the slightest difference in the life of another mother with MS is such a gift. How can I possibly feel cheated? How can I possibly label this diagnosis entirely "bad?"
The lesson for me is, don't assume that everything that initially appears negative actually is. Life has an amazing way of teaching endless lessons, and though we may not always be in the mood to learn them at the moment, we may eventually look back and think:
"Now I understand."