How to Go From Being APART FROM to Being A PART OF This Vibrant World
Developing a progressive, incurable disease can leave us feeling APART FROM the lives we used to live. Not only do we instinctively withdraw from people and activities and voluntarily isolate ourselves, we can be abandoned by loved ones, excluded from social gatherings, and let go from jobs. One can feed the other, some we have no control over. Whatever the scenario, confusion and a feeling of failure can result.
Feelings of isolation
Sometimes we might see ourselves as being encased in a snow globe, a wintry scene with us sitting in a sleigh that, with a quick snap of the wrist, becomes nearly invisible in a white blur of fake snow. We watch while the snow settles down again and the rigid, solitary figure on the sleigh emerges once more, forever frozen in place. But we are not figures in a snow globe and we are most definitely not failures. Whether we feel like we live apart from a normal life, worlds APART FROM the normal lives of others, we also live within the world. We are A PART OF it.
We live not in a tableau of stationary figures but in a moving, throbbing, warm-blooded, ever-shifting, thriving reality that moves so fast that most people can’t even process what’s happening from one moment to the next. If we are fully engaged in living life, we aren’t able to and aren’t supposed to do that anyway. We’re supposed to live the moments and let those chains of moments carry us forward until we step off the escalator to catch our breaths, look back, and think: what was that all about? If we decide it’s better to keep doin’ life, we hop right back on and maybe even find a rollercoaster or three for some extra thrills. Isn’t that how life ought to be lived?
So maybe you’re thinking that these scenarios, these thoughts I just put out there are for more mobile people than you. Your knee-jerk reaction to such malarkey is that it doesn’t begin to include special people like you who cannot in any literal sense jump on escalators, leap over turnstiles, step into rollercoaster cars, or otherwise propel one’s self from point A to point B in the dizzying style of a Gillian Lynne-choreographed Andrew Lloyd Weber musical. Well, okay, you can’t.
But is that where your thinking stops? At the point where your habit is to return to the APART part of your identity? If it does, you’re not alone. I do it, too, a million times a day. I do it until I’m sick of myself. Sick of my circular thinking, sick of the box I’ve bricked myself into without any windows, heat ducts, and cold air returns. I’m in pitch black solitary confinement, lying naked on a slab inside a 4 X 6 concrete prison cell that makes even the hardest felons scream and pi$$ themselves. They don’t have a choice. We put ourselves there voluntarily. So I propose this idea: let’s not do that anymore.
But into what kind of living can we fit our crippled, weak, partially paralyzed selves? Wherever we want to, for starters. What do we want to be A PART OF? Where to begin? We could start with the lives of our loved ones.
Find a need and fill it
There are probably some people in your love circle that are younger than you. With your experience and wisdom, you could be useful to them. Find out what they need and see if you can do some little thing about it. That’s a good way to get to know them better, too.
There are probably some people in your love circle that are older than you, too. With your relative youth and mental flexibility, you could be useful to an elderly somebody whose mental processes are more brittle than yours. Find out what they need. A simple phone call once a month could be the ticket. Think small. Small is usually bigger than big. I know you know what I mean.
These things accomplish something important for all of us: it gets us out of ourselves. We might be physically limited, but mentally stepping onto the moving stairs, the amusement park rides, the helicopter rungs, is an important step out of feeling APART and into feeling A PART OF.
Who needs virtual reality games head gear? We can fly around the world using good old-fashioned imagination. Reading a book usually does the trick for me. I’m a sucker for a vivid description of, oh, anything, really. How about you?
What gets your blood pumping? I love getting excited about something. It pulls blood up to my brain, and goodness knows I need all the platelets I can spare up there.
I have the hardest time with my MS during the following season: