Friday, January 20, 2012


My fellow travelers on the M.S. Highway, I say to you: we are not alone. We are not alone in our anguish about It (whatever It is) being interrupted, being over too soon... too soon.

I ran into a friend of mine today who, for a variety of health reasons, is having to take retirement earlier than he thought he would. Now, I must say, his own life highway has been a spectacularly rough one, and he has lived through all sorts of things that would easily fit into Nietsche's "That which does not destroy me makes me stronger" category.

And he all of a sudden ... "has to," shall we say... take retirement.

And he is not going gentle into that good night.

And the Great Machine of the Universe is presenting him, just as it has presented to us, very unwelcome lessons in detachment.

And he doesn't like it any more than we do.

Does the fact that other people suffer make me feel "better?" Does their pain reduce mine? Of course not; if we were in a room full of grand pianos each of which was resting on one of our hands, saying "Well, everybody else has a grand piano on their hand" wouldn't make me feel any less pain from the piano's weight on my hand.

But it certainly does remind us that, no matter why we face the challenges of "it's time to change the way I live, whether I'm ready or not," we all react in sadly similar ways. And there's a technical term for people like my friend, and like me, and like all of us, who find unwelcome confrontation with our situations to be particularly painful, particularly wrenching; reaching deep within us and grabbing us by our very soul. Yes, there's a technical term for people like us:



Travelogue for the Universe said...

Well said, esp re: the pianos! Have a great day! mary

Carolyn Cordon said...

True words here, thank you. Multiple Sclerosis is a challenge, and there are many other health challenges out there.

Sickness is sickness, but it's up to everyone to find the best way to live their life with what they've been handed.

Janine said...

Hello Robert:
For the past hour I've been reading your blog and am so glad to have found it. The philosophy of this MS-bound life and the living of it is beautifully explored in your blog. I have secondary progressive and am going through recovery from a major exacerbation right now. My world is so narrowly focused to each toenail hold of recovery I gain that any time I can pull my brain out of the trenches and be reminded to breath and think outside of my little box is a good thing. Thanks for writing so provocatively about this life we're living. Janine (