My folks put me in a basic gymnastics class when I was young. I was not a natural. I was destined to fail since I have always hated the thought of my head being below my feet, if God meant for us to do that, he would have made us that way! For this reason, I failed to learn how to do a cartwheel. My very brief foray into cheerleading was greatly hinder because I couldn’t tumble or dance or jump. . . In Junior High gym class, we were forced to participate in a gymnastics unit. We had to complete routines on all of the different apparatus – uneven bars, vault, balance beam and floor routine. I hated it. I was terrible. But I remember my gym teacher telling us one thing, always end well, which meant we had to end with our arms up and chest out. You know the pose if you watch the Olympics, whether they stick the landing or not, they finish with arms up and chest out. It’s really all I ever excelled at in gymnastics.
MS often causes balance issues. When I was in the midst of a flare last year, my balance was really bad. I’d stumble and look drunk at all times of the day. One time, I stumbled while getting up from the couch. I’m sure it was quite the show as I tried to catch myself and wavered between falling and standing. But in the end, I didn’t fall (always something to be thankful for) and I remembered the wisdom of my gym teacher, I threw my hands up and put my chest out. Yes! I just stuck the landing! My husband laughed at me and I joined in. Now whenever I stumble and don’t fall, I strike the victory pose!
When dealing with a chronic illness, I find hope in laughter. It is easy to get discouraged by the many losses and the ongoing issues. I am still grieving life before numbness in my hands, feet and legs. When I find myself dwelling on all the negatives, I am sad, angry and ultimately bitter. Adding laughter, lightens the load and brings a moment of light into a dark situation. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up bones.” (ESV). Finding ways to laugh at myself is good medicine as is surrounding myself with others who laugh with me.
My balance is better now, but my numb feet cause me to stumble every once in awhile, each time I waver now, I make sure to “stick the landing” and strike the pose. And most importantly, smile! 🙂