In my school days I got involved in the Christian Union, a group of young Christians in my school. I got seriously into my Bible and all things God-dy. Every morning, before the everyone else in the school was awake and the bustle of hundreds of other children echoed through the drafty old building, I’d sit on the stairs doing Bible study.
When considering this piece on Lent, I thought back to those days, reading about the forty days and forty nights Jesus spent in the desert and trying to figure out what was it all about? To be honest, I was a little jealous that Jesus had ALL that time to himself
When I was reflecting on his story, I thought about being in a place without the company of others, without basic necessities among thorny prickly plants? For three days and night, during a trip India, myself and a friend went on camel safari in the Thar Desert. Scorching in the day the sun beat down on us and freezing in the night, we got tucked up in our sleeping mats and lay under the vast, star-filled sky. And it was a uniquely lonely sensation.
But for people with MS there are always reminders of a desolate place- I’ve never been SO alone than on the days and months after my MS diagnosis. The uncertainty, the devastation, the morbid thoughts of a life un-lived and then there was all the choices I had NO clue how to make. MS is my barren desert and that desert represents to me what life is like in the first few months and even years of life with MS. But I eventually walked out of that desert. There are still some thorny parts of me and one of them is distraction from myself.
I’m prone to sitting surrounded by books, gleefully sitting alone for hours, absorbed or turning on the radio first thing to get a dose of politics or sitting scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through my Twitter feed. Distraction and denial of what was going on in my ‘real’ life. My phone is always with me, I’m rarely uncontactable and there’s always a source of information (wanted or otherwise), close by. This is really useful for us if we want to be distracted from what really matters and I’ve been distracted from what really matters.
©Emma Rogan 2018
This piece was first published on the MS Ireland, ‘MS and Me’ community blog on 14th February 2018.