It was late evening. I had just had a long talk with a very dear friend of mine, whose daughter is suffering from multiple sclerosis; she wanted to know why.
Why does a beautiful vibrant 32-year-old woman lose the use of her legs and need care 24/7? Elaine was in my class many years ago. A bright, loving child, we bonded almost immediately and I gave her the leading role in a play I was putting on.... she was Mrs. Santa Claus, taking care of Santa and all his helpers. So why do young people fall ill... why do they need to suffer? I asked this question and received a beautiful reply from within.
'We do not fall ill and we do not suffer. We spend our lives in a match of sorts, where we get to play the game of patience and courage; where the cards we are dealt go to make us better people and purer souls. It is a privilege to learn how to value the inner soul and to revel in its beauty rather than to revel in what the body can do. What can the mind do? How far can it reach in all its glory to overcome the dark shadow of illness and death and dwell in the beauty of consciousness -- in the dance of being, just a whisper away from the breath of Divinity. That is the question that needs to be asked, because suffering is not there unless we invite it in to take its place at the table. When we do it will soon stand in the very place that we do and soon enough it will devour us completely unless we stand back and see it for what it is... a shadow. No, it is not easy to have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis but what can be seen beyond suffering and pain. What about the soul and why is there a soul that is hidden completely from view?'
I decided to share the following with my friend and all those who are in need and suffer through illness.
Be happy. Look at happiness! Dissect it and ask yourself why you can only be happy if everything is going perfectly in your life? How can happiness be found in a wheelchair? How can happiness be found in the difficult steps taken to exercise a body? How can happiness be found when happiness is not a state that belongs to a situation but who one truly is! We are all happiness. We are all beauty. We are all joy. We are all suspended in the ocean of life tasting different experiences; teaching others; looking at reflections and finding light in all that life brings. Happiness is taking that one extra step; happiness is making it when you think you cannot; happiness is waking up and smiling; happiness is reflected in eyes that look deeply and touch the heart; happiness is being able at the end of a very long and hard day, to say: Let me marvel at the beauty and grace that life is, for I am that life, and I am that beauty and I am that grace no matter how difficult things are in this moment of time.
What I know is that there is always someone else who will suffer more than me and someone who will even die before me but what I will always know is that there is noone in this world as unique and beautiful as me -- no matter how difficult things can be for me. I choose to see the real me -- that which was hidden as long as my body took precedence in my life. Now the time has come for me to revere my soul. May it lead me to where I need to go!