One of my most precious experiences was finding a list in my dad’s handwriting as I sat in his recliner in my parents’ home. When I asked my mom about it, she told me it was his prayer list — he had written names of his family and friends that he prayed for. I was deeply moved.
My own prayer starts in the morning. I pour myself a cup of coffee, light a candle, and take time to meditate. I pray the Psalms and am always struck by the ones that speak of healing. The Psalms comfort me and help me put my multiple sclerosis (MS) into perspective. I thank God that I can still do all I do after 31 years of living with MS and that I have loving friends, a wonderful sister, and a sense of humor. Prayer shifts my thinking from what I can’t do with MS to what I can. Of course, I realize that even with all the new medications available, there still isn’t a cure, but I can still pray.
Because of this private daily routine, I find that I’m at peace with this disease. Of course, I have moments when I shed tears because I want to do more things, but I realize that physically, I just can’t. I note that prayer shifts my values and changes the way I look at things.
Another benefit of prayer is that it guides me to do things that are right for me but that might be hard to do. Every time I get my weekly intramuscular shot, which slows down the progression of my MS, I say a silent prayer. Some people ask, “What does prayer do?” I respond, “I think it makes me keep getting the shot weekly with hope in my heart.”
Prayer puts things into perspective. I feel loved by people who are willing to travel with me, shop with me, or go to a movie with me. I am awed by friends who support me in my activities with MS fund-raisers and do extra errands to save me time and effort.
I hate my MS. But ironically, it’s taught me that while life isn’t perfect, it’s still beautiful. It’s kind of like a Christmas tree that has a few branches missing; it’s still a beautiful tree. My MS has made me see that the human condition is fragile and that people themselves, not what they do, are the most precious gifts of all.