How Multiple Sclerosis Taught Me Patience with Situations, in Relationships

Mandy Crest Health Guide January 30, 2008
  • Patience. It takes a great deal of it to survive this world. Unfortunately, most of us are born without much, if any at all. For the most part, it is a skill we learn and improve upon as we mature. Some people have extra lessons in patience forced on them through various circumstances. For me that circumstance is multiple sclerosis.

    If there is an obvious positive that I can attribute directly to my experiences with MS, it is that I have acquired patience. I must admit that the first lessons were traumatic, but in time the teacher won out.

    When I was a little girl and impatience showed up on the scene, my grandmother would chant “patience...patience” with a knowing smile. I didn't get it then. It would please her to know that I get it now.

    As a child walking to school I irritated my fellow walkers with my quick pace and inability to simply stroll. As an adult going about the business of working, raising children and running errands, I could barely contain my displeasure with the slow walkers, slow talkers, slow moving cashiers, hesitant drivers, etc. I always seemed to be surrounded by the slow-moving masses.

    Now I am among their ranks, slowly going about my life the best way I can. Regardless of the status of my MS at any given time, I am able to maintain my patience with the people around me through a deeper understanding that what I see is not necessarily all there is. Everyone has a struggle of some kind, though it may not be obvious and it may not be physical.

    There is always something more that needs to be done. There are more chores to do, more things to accomplish, more rush...rush...rush. Yet my newfound patience has given me permission to wait and take a generally more relaxed view of life. I've learned how to use time wisely and how to prioritize. I've learned to wait for the body to catch up with the person who happens to live inside it. I've learned to make downtime work for me. When you are forced to spend a great deal of time within yourself, you'd better make wise use of it. I've learned that everyone has a story.

    MS has also managed to spread the lesson of patience to those who must deal with me. My husband, children and co-workers have each adjusted their own patience levels where I am concerned.

    The gift of patience has made the world a much more pleasant place to reside and I am very grateful for a lesson learned.