Happy MS Awareness Week!

msaware2014Somehow, wishing people a “Happy MS Awareness Week” seems weird at best and morbid at worst.  How happy can it be?  If you don’t have MS, you can be happy about that fact, at least.

What does it mean to be “aware” of MS?  The easy answer is to be aware of its existence.  It gets messier after that.  Be aware that it stands for multiple sclerosis.  Be aware that it means more than one (multiple) scars (sclerosis) on nerve tissue caused by some kind of attacks that no one seems to have a handle on.  (See previous post regarding the lack of handles.)

There.  You don’t have MS, but at least you’re aware of it.  (Going back over all my MS related blog entries wouldn’t hurt either, he said self-servingly.)

For those of us with MS, awareness comes pretty naturally.  Every time we stumble, see double, feel the weird and often painful sensations all over our bodies, drop something with our numb, clumsy hands, lie awake wondering when those excruciating leg spasms will let us sleep, ignore the stares of people who look at us like we’re drunk because we’re walking like drunks, yada, yada.  We’re agonizingly aware of MS every day.

Let’s go deeper.  Don’t settle for being aware of the disease.  Be aware of those living with the disease.  Let me suggest a spin on what G. K. Chesterton calls “promiscuous charity.”

Chesterton says promiscuous charity “means the most dark and terrible of all human actions—talking to a man. In fact, I know of nothing more difficult than really talking to the poor men we meet.”

Don’t worry, I’m not asking for your money… yet.

Let me paraphrase that quote to define promiscuous MS awareness: “the most dark and terrible of all human actions—talking to someone with MS.”  So many people I know are afraid to ask how I or anyone with MS are doing.  The same dynamic is seen when someone loses a loved one.  No one knows what to say, so they say nothing.  One of the worst feelings a grieving person can experience, similar in many ways to what a person with chronic illness feels, is isolation.  But the circumstance, coupled with others’ well-meaning distance, serves to underscore that loneliness.

This week (3/3-9) talk to someone with MS.  Ask how they’re doing.  Tell them you’re praying for them.  Buy someone a cup of coffee.  (One thing I’ve learned about people with MS is they love free food.  Who doesn’t?)  Just hang out and chat.

Or as Jesus so subversively put it, “love one another.”


About rickconti

It's not about me, remember?
This entry was posted in Jesus, MS and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Happy MS Awareness Week!

  1. Jeffrey Marshall says:

    Amen to this post. I found, personally, paragraph 4 to be most poignant. You continue to be most thoughtful and considerate when “blogging” (sp) about MS. It appears that you may know people afflicted with this disease (sic). I’d buy you a cup of coffee anytime. Just not at Starbucks; too expensive! Best, Jeff

  2. scott.quackenbush@gmail.com says:

    Yea I almost didn’t read it. More MS crap… but yea people ALWAYS shy or even go away when a true hard issue faces them.

    • rickconti says:

      MS and crap seem to go together well, don’t they?
      I agree with you, Scott. Maybe if more people would confront the hard issues, they wouldn’t be quite so hard.

  3. Bruce Farrell says:

    Thanks Rick, wish you were close that I could buy you that cup of coffee. Seems appropriate that it comes during Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, the day we “celebrate” our mortality.
    Maybe I will do one of those old fashioned things, like make a phone call to you my friend! Bless you and thanks for the post.

    • rickconti says:

      True, the propinquity of Lent and MS week is significant. Thanx for pointing it out.

      Except for the fact that I don’t actually drink coffee (coffee shops are just cool places for artsy posers like me to be seen) I’d hang out with you any time, Bruce.

  4. Cousin Carol says:

    You hit it right Cuz. I never ask. Sad to admit it, but I will hang out in a coffee shop anytime with you to see how you are. Love and God Bless You.

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