My Journey with MS

My diagnoses and path to spiritual peace

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  • Matt Dowie

It's The Journey

I hope this blog post comes to everyone while they are healthy and happily fighting the darn pandemic. It has been crazy to see life as we know it come to a screeching halt. To be honest, it has been a weird time for me and my family as we have now been quarantining for just about 2 months. Luckily I can do everything I need to do for work from home and Lauren is still at home with the kids so our life hasn't really changed. We have been healthy and enjoying our backyard when we can. I go out to get treatment and to exercise, that is about it. But, as I mentioned, we have been blessed to be healthy these last two months. I think writing about this pandemic is what everyone else is writing about and therefore not something I plan to put you guys through. You can thank me later. I will say though that during this time of working from home, hearing the kids nearly jumping through the ceiling and landing in my lap during a meeting, or knocking on the door to my "office" trying to get in, I have been able to slow down a bit and be opened up to some things.

Two friends of mine and I are doing a Bible study together over zoom which has been absolutely awesome to see their faces on a regular basis and grow in our faith together but we talked about something today that I feel like God has been teaching me over the last two months. As I take a peak at the title of this blog maybe God has been trying to teach my this lesson for two years and it has just taken me this long to truly understand that. It is the thought of enjoying the journey. It is the whole thought that life isn't about the destination. It isn't about where you ultimately end up. It is about the journey that gets you there. For me, it is about the journey I take with my life. The destination for all of us is death. You can call that morbid but we will all ultimately end up dying so what separates me, or you from the next person is our journey.

I don't think that thought is revolutionary. I know I am not saying things that others haven't heard or said before but it has been playing out in my life recently and it has been powerful. I am someone who hates traveling because I am going to a destination and I just want to be there now. Whether I want to be at that destination or not, I would rather be there than be traveling to that location. It causes me to live a fast paced life. A lot of times I am so focused on getting to the destination as soon as I can that I don't remember the landmarks that I passed on my way to get there. This plays out when I go for runs as well. I set expectations for myself that are usually unrealistic on good days let alone days where I am tired and aren't feeling the best. But despite that I still expect to run those times and get mad at myself when I don't run those times. The other day I came storming into the house because I went for a run, went out way too hot, and ended up having an absolutely horrible run. I died at the end and I came in fuming because I was "extremely out of shape" and "it is completely unaceptable". Most of you can probably relate to this is some way.

For some reason today was different. I had about 40 minutes between when my kids went to bed and my Bible study and I decided I would go for a run. I debated about whether or not I should run a 5k before the Bible study to get a good workout in and to push myself to run fast times, but I didn't. I had this urge to just go for a run. It doesn't usually happen but I decided that I would just go run for the sake of running. Strange I know. What is crazy though is this idea shouldn't be strange. If I am being honest with my self the fact that I can even go out for a quick 3 mile run is a blessing. There was a time after my diagnosis where I couldn't go out for a 3 mile run. My symptoms of drop foot didn't allow me to get that far. Yet here I am two years down the road and there are times where I forget about those days. I have been so focused on kicking MS's a$$ that I forget about the journey. I have forgotten about the tough times that have strengthened my faith. The hard work I put in on days I didn't want to so that I could eventually run 3 miles again. I have forgotten that I played soccer with my college buddies one year to the day that I was diagnosed with MS.

There are days where God doesn't let me forget those things. There are days where I am doing a cool down from a run and I pray to God that I never take for granted the fact that I can still run, bike, play soccer, lift heavy weights(depending on who you ask). Today was one of those days. It was hard to do but I started off at a nice slow pace and just let my mind wonder. Life has been tough lately and having the ability to just run for the sake of running and letting my mind wonder was incredible. I went on a run just to go on a run today. There was no specific distance I wanted to travel or times I was trying to hit. I just wanted to get my heart rate up a bit and stay active.

I was enjoying the journey today. Not just the journey of that run but the journey of the last two months. I was able to enjoy the journey of my kids turning five and two and growing up to be independent little dudes. I have been able to enjoy the journey of making memories with those two kids. With this family of mine. I have been able to enjoy the journey of connecting on a deeper level with friends. As difficult as it has been, I have enjoyed the journey of crying over life circumstances with my wife. I know we have grown closer together as we strive to get through heart wrenching times. God has taught me over the last two months how to stop. How to forget about the destination and instead get lost in the journey.

We all have the same destination on this earth and if we get focused on the destination it can make living life hard. It can kill motivation and make you just want to speed through to the destination, but I encourage you to get lost in the journey. God wants us to get lost in the journey. He wants us to meet new people, to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. To love others fiercely. Forget about the destination.

I will leave you with some words from the late Kobe Bryant that he shared with his daughters during his jersey retirement. He understood the importance of the journey and I hope you will too.

"Those times when you get up early and you work hard, those times when you stay up late and you work hard, those times when you don't feel like working, you're too tired, you don't want to push yourself but you do it anyway; That is the actual dream. It's not the destination, it's the journey. And if you guys can understand that, then what you'll see happen is that you won't accomplish your dreams. Your dreams won't come true, something greater will."

Take Heart

John 16:33

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