When MS Takes From Me, I Try to Give Back in Service to Others

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by Jamie Hughes |

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Last weekend was a busy one. On Friday, I had to drop my eldest son at school at 5:30 a.m. for a field trip and then pick him up at 11 p.m. A nap wasn’t in the cards, I’m sad to say, and at some point in the evening, I hit that level of fatigue where you start to feel a little drunk and everything hurts. Hoo boy, that was a long day.

Thankfully, I got eight hours of sleep on Saturday because I had to attend a second session of poll worker training, as I will be volunteering on May 24 during the primaries. Then on Sunday, my sons and I volunteered at a Greek festival to support our local Orthodox church.

I don’t normally jam-pack this much stuff into a single weekend, nor can I maintain such a frenetic pace as an MS patient. However, lately I’ve been feeling this pull toward service opportunities and helping others. I think it’s my way of combating all the darkness and hostility I sense around me. (Ah, the joy of being an empath.)

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I can’t ignore what’s going on, and I can’t just let it happen. Something in me wants to do something, anything, to make the world better. It made me think about a quote from Irish playwright and literary critic George Bernard Shaw that I read in college many moons ago. He wrote:

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.”

Yes! My life — all our lives — belong to the whole community. That’s why I encourage people to explore empathy, to think of others before themselves, to stand up for others, and to use their powers and gifts for good. It’s so much better than focusing on yourself and becoming what Shaw described as a “selfish little clod of aliments and grievances and complaining.”

I know people who are exactly that, and being around them drains the life out of me. I don’t want to be one of those people to someone else. Instead, I’d rather be a source of motivation and positivity. I want to give something to the individuals who enter my orbit rather than take something from them.

Multiple sclerosis takes so much, and most of the time, I don’t get a say-so about it. But I don’t have to let it steal my heart. I don’t have to let it dim my light. I will do what I can to make things better. I can make my little patch of earth better and happier and more just. That is where true happiness comes from, and I for one am willing to do whatever it takes to encourage that in others’ lives as well as my own.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

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