Hope and Faith

 

I have raised this subject before but would like to give it another try. Is faith the engine of hope and does it have to be the only one? If hope needs a foundation or a place to grow, something solid to build on, faith can be an effective starting point. I tell myself that secular faith can exist, too.

Secular humanism attracts me. My kids went to an Ethical Culture Society school founded in the nineteenth century by those who believed in deed, not creed. I understand how unpopular secular humanism is in some quarters. Such is the First Amendment promise of religious freedom.

Maybe hope is organic Hope cannot be manufactured, but neither can it be denied.   Hope may be beyond our control, growing in its own time and place. Hope cannot be only a creature of or prisoner to orthodoxy and a privilege offered to the faithful.

I do not wish to offend but wonder if hope is whatever any of us thinks it is.

34 Responses to Hope and Faith

  1. CP December 15, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    I think the base/foundation for hope is often desperation or helplessness. If someone has control over a situation they rarely speak of having hope. They work to achieve their desired result. To me, hope occurs when a situation is uncontrollable. Faithful people often pray for their desired results because they’re not in control. I did this same thing when my son was very ill. I had no control over the situation and prayed (rather begged) God to make him well. I felt trepidation because I was scared if I didn’t have enough faith then it was my son’s death sentence. That’s probably a whole other story. Sometimes the concept of hope seems so simple: wanting something you have no control over attaining. But hope has layers. It helps stabilize fear. It can help someone maintain a positive outlook which is probably a good thing. The cynic in me thinks hope is a magnificent marketing tool. Hope sells. My son’s hospital’s slogan is “Hope Happens Here”. Richard, writing a book about hope must be like trying to catch the wind. It’s everywhere but difficult to pin down. Good luck with the book.

    • Brian Melton December 16, 2015 at 6:23 pm #

      Christopher I assume you have enhancing lesions with these relapses. Are you aware of Northwestern University Dr.Richard Burts clinical trial of HSCT? They are stopping rrms patients disease in it’s tracks. There have been many extremely disabled rrms patients put into long term remission. Its a reboot of the immune system using Chemotherapy followed by an administration of your own naive stem cells. Here is the latest results.http://www.healthline.com/health-news/stem-cell-transplants-first-ms-treatment-reverses-disability-012215

      • Brian Melton December 16, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

        Sorry this is off subject just wanted to reach out to you.

        • Christopher December 17, 2015 at 12:11 am #

          Hello, Brian.

          I did for a long time, and I’ve thought about HSCT for a while–especially since they’re autologous cells (from my own body). But unfortunately after this last relapse superimposed on another relapse, just a few days apart, nothing illuminates on my MRIs any longer. Which means permanent damage to the nerves affected. They still might flicker on every once in a while, like a light with a frayed cord. But eventually the axons will shrivel and go silent, forever, because the supportive glial cells have been destroyed. It just got away from me before I could arrest the progression, and I’m still in pretty bad shape. I’ve been researching this for years and I still can’t figure this crazy disease process. I’m definitely not alone in that either. Also, my immune system is too damaged from years of too many different DMDs to be a good candidate for HSCT, and it may be too late in the game for an immune system reboot. But for someone just diagnosed, and in good health, it’s an excellent option to get about 10 years or more of no disease progression. Thank you very much for the thought… I really appreciate it.

          There is a bit of good news on figuring how MS is triggered in the first place. A research group at the University of Chicago believes that MS is triggered by the death of oligodendrocytes (the glial cells that produce myelin), and the bits of those cells which get away induce an autoimmune reaction to myelin and the healthy oligodendrocytes because T-cells are unfamiliar with the MOG (myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein) that is released from destroyed glial cells. Also the group was able to stop the autoimmunity with nanoparticles. This has been only done in mice, but human trials should begin shortly. There is similar work going on at Dr. Michael Demetriou’s lab at UC Irvine, in Southern California. If the results are correct, then this is VERY big news. Keep your fingers crossed.

  2. Christopher December 15, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

    I think that’s very true with the majority of people with faith, CP. It is very difficult on someone to think that his or her amount of faith is dependent on an outcome–that is an inordinate amount of psychological stress to put on oneself, but completely understandable. To question your faith is actually a good thing. I’ve been through this and asked very knowledgeable people about this (I posted about my experience talking with religious leaders on this blog about a year ago), and the answer to do you ever question your faith was, “every day.” But I personally think that any higher power that would grant mercy or help based on amount of faith rather than the quality of life proving that faith would be just mean-spirited and petty, if that higher power could help at all. I think that you being there and putting yourself before your son shows that you understand God and your faith, the value of your faith, isn’t really in question. This reminds me of the philosophy of Pascal’s Wager. It would be better for you all to Google it than for me to write it all here.

    I’m really sorry you had to go through such crisis when your son was sick, CP… or anyone else who has to go through the same experience. It’s crushing, and very stressful and very painful. I sincerely HOPE things are better for you and your son now.

    I wish everyone a Happy Holidays, and that each and every one of you can find some respite from your struggles.

    • Sandra Schneider December 17, 2015 at 7:54 am #

      Christopher, another big part of this is all the debris progressive people have accumulated in the CNS. This debris signals the immune system to clean up, but when we become progressive this is only a vicious cycle of the immune system coming in and causing more damage. Please check out MIS 416- it is being trailed in Australia and New Zealand for SPMS and is the only drug that has had success in clearing out this debris, reducing the chronic low level of inflammation and dramatically improving quality of life for most who have tried it. I have been watching this drug for a few years now and when it comes to the US I think it could finally be cause for us to have real hope.

      • Christopher December 18, 2015 at 1:20 am #

        Hi Sandra.

        That’s sort of what happens. The CNS is pristine compared to the rest of the body, and it stays that way because it’s locked up tight by the blood brain barrier (BBB). The largest portion being near the brain’s ventricles. Because of that many people are initially diagnosed because of MRI findings called, ominously enough, “Dawson’s fingers” because the image of the lesions near the ventricles resemble fingers going through the brain in 3D. So the immune system has to get CD8 T-cells through the BBB to be able to attack. Which means there’s something else going on besides detritus cleanup–immune cells aren’t supposed to be there, the CNS has it’s own built-in immune system. But just recently researchers have found evidence of something resembling a micro-lymphatic system going through the brain and spinal cord which hasn’t been discovered until now. Which may signal another breakthrough into what causes neurological autoimmune conditions.

        The MIS-416 sounds interesting. But unfortunately the clinical trial is almost over (June of 2016, with preliminary findings published a month before in May), and any results would take time to be tested and accepted here by the FDA before any of us could get access. Plus it would also depend on degree of neurological damage–not all SPMS’rs are created equal it seems. I’ll cross my fingers that all goes well. And thank you for the information.

  3. Christopher December 15, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    I found this from one of my favorite authors. Perhaps it helps…

    “I was born with an incurable disease, so was everybody–the same one that every machine has–and the knowledge of the fact frightens nobody, damages nobody; but the moment a name is given the disease, the whole thing is changed: fright ensues, and horrible depression, and the life that has learned its sentence is not worth the living. Medicine has its office, it does its share and does it well; but without hope back of it, its forces are crippled and only the physician’s verdict can create that hope when the facts refuse to create it.”

    — Mark Twain – Letter to Dr. W. W. Baldwin, May 15, 1904

  4. Jan1 December 16, 2015 at 12:06 am #

    Christopher—I looked up Pascal’s Wager as you had suggested: an interesting read, indeed.

    Richard—For a foundation of hope, I think we as individuals need to decide in whom we place our faith, our trust. Who (or in some, what) is the cornerstone upon which we build our perspective? It’s a decision. Not necessarily one we completely understand; that is where faith enters in, a trust based upon evidence but also upon the unseen here and now.

    In reading the Bible, it can get messy esp. in the Old Testament. For example, Esther is so lauded; I get why in context, but at the same time that story offends my more modern perspective, I will admit. The Bible is often not such a friendly or easily understood place.

    Yes, deeds, but as a response and obedience but not as a means to achieve a desired result. Who here can really be that good all of the time and with totally pure motives? (Not I). I see hope not as in being a prisoner of religion but with freedom with that religion. When I am confused or hurting, I trust and then I have purpose to persevere. I’m encouraged and can encourage others. I’m not miserable to be around.

    If not in faith, then in what or whom, exactly? If only in myself, I will stumble (literally these days!) My late uncle (Catholic—I am not but personally don’t get hung up on denominations, “just” on basic truth) used to say, “You either believe in Christ, or you don’t.” And, that doesn’t mean it will be all roses here, to be sure (harder, actually).

    A former 50-year-old neighbor with an aggressive cancer, a neighbor here enduring just three months of liver cancer left behind spouses who trust, who know that all we each really have here is today, and are not bitter. Sad, yes, but not confused because of hope in promises beyond our present experiences.

    As stated in a number of blog responses, there are various facets to hope. (I hope it won’t snow/I hope I’ll be able to walk today). To me, the litmus test of hope relates to in whom I ultimately place my trust and follow – regardless of (too often nasty) circumstances that can make it challenging. Very challenging right now, physically and emotionally.

    It’s simple, really. (I said simple, not easy, btw).

    And just when I thought I got the hang of short replies…

  5. Andrew December 16, 2015 at 5:55 am #

    I hope that if I share very personal experiences, that I won’t be judged negatively. But I have faith that if one needs to judge me, that it is their need and it does not have to diminish me. This has enabled me to not worry so much about how I look to others with my cane or rollator. Being over sixty also helps me to not be too concerned about what others think. I was raised in a home by parents who practiced their faith in many visible ways, as well as going to church on Sunday to be actively part of “a faith community.” The minister in my childhood church was very involved in the civil rights movement and I heard many sermon messages about loving my neighbor and how we were all equal in God’s eyes. While I have had many years of academic and experiential learning about world religions and faith communities, my own views have evolved. I recognize that while I may choose very different language and interpretations of “sacred writings,” that I have been blessed to always have an easy ability to have faith in something greater. Whether it be a need for some to have an anthropomorphic deity or the power of the collective mind set of genuine people of good will, I believe there is something for everyone if it has meaning to them.
    When I was a young child, I lived in a neighborhood with playmates who went to the Catholic Church and to parochial school. One of my best friends at public school was Jewish. One day I asked my mother how come we did things differently at our church (Protestant) and how did we know our religion was the right one. My mother gave me the best answer a child could hear at such a young age. She told me “well, it’s kind of like ice cream. Some people really love one flavor more than the one that is another person’s favorite. The point is that we learn what flavor is our best choice because whatever flavor faith we choose, the point is that we all love ice cream.” (Sorry if the divinity of frozen dairy desserts seems offensive, but I was only eight.) At the age of five, I would go to bed at night, in my room and sometimes see people watching me. They seemed like kind faces but still frightened me and I would muster my courage to scream “Momma.” She would come to my room and I tried to tell her what I was seeing and she would turn a light on and try to reassure me that no one was there and I was safe. After one too many of these late night cry outs from me, my mother told me to not let what I thought I was seeing frighten me and to just say over and over to myself, “what time I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee.” After she left the room and the light was off again, I decided I didn’t hear her correctly because she didn’t finish what came after “the”–put my trust in the what?? So I decided that she must have said “what time I am afraid, I will put my trust in me.” As a young child trying to make sense of what I would later realize was psychic/clairvoyant experiences, I learned the value of trusting myself as safe and not to tell everything I saw or felt. I won’t go into my lifetime of further experiences along these lines but it has given me an absolute confidence that there is so much more to life than the limited dimension in which we live out our day to day existence.
    Now this brings be to my journey with hope. When I got diagnosed with MS, I remembered that one of the first people I ever knew who had it was a beautiful young woman who taught Sunday School when I was three to five years old. It was sad to see her eventually be in a wheel chair when I got older, but she always had a joyful disposition and would speak about being hopeful that one day she wouldn’t need to always be in the wheel chair. Eventually, she must have responded to treatment of some kind as I heard that she was walking with a cane, happily married and raising a child. So when I was given the option of taking a disease modifying medication, I decided that it was a positively hopeful plan of action and could help. I continue, after more than a dozen years, to visualize each injection as going through my blood stream to my brain and surrounding the neurons with healing, supportive light. Thanks to the encouragement from some of you who read this blog, I decided to give Ampyra a try. And, (knock on wood) I feel my legs as stronger. I walk with more security, faster, and have not used my rollator for the past month. So while I have faith in the dedicated work of medical professionals to make continual advances and progress in tackling this disease, I have hope that someday this will be a manageable or even curable disease. If it doesn’t happen in my life time, so be it, but it will turn things around for future generations who might not have to go through what so many have endured. Hope gives me a strong optimism that it just might happen in time to help me; why not? But I am truly fortunate to have loving, supportive family and friends. I am so very lucky that I don’t yet suffer with depression or despair. If faith and hope can do anything for us, I want to believe that it is an antidote for the “double d’s” I am so fortunate to not have at this time. Wherever we get our own versions of faith or hope, I believe it is a journey and I hope I can always honor the journey of others, even when my experiences, values, and perspectives may differ. Like they say in France (sorry, I never studied French so may botch the spelling) Viva La Differance.

  6. Sandra Schneider December 16, 2015 at 8:12 am #

    I believe we are all saying the same thing. There can be a huge chasm between hope and faith. Sometimes the two are very close together. Yesterday I made brownies; I’ve done that over a hundred times. I hoped they’d turn out better than the last time, but didn’t have faith that they would. In fact, they were the best batch I’d ever made-far exceeded my hopes and expectations. Last night I was helping my 14 year old with Global History homework and watching Wheel of Fortune-like millions I’d registered to win the prize at the end of the show. My son said, “Why did you do that. You know you’re not going to win.” I told him, “I don’t expect to win, but it is very remotely possible, the same way it is remotely possible for me to walk again.” He replied, “No, neither of those things will ever happen.” Well, I do believe he is right, but his response still made me sad. For me, even a sliver of hope, as long as it is tempered with reality, is better than not hope at all.

  7. Louisa December 16, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

    Wow, these are some of the best responses I have seen. I love the Mark Twain piece! CP, I agree with your analysis. Andrew, I enjoyed your personal story and optimism. And Sandra, I always forgive fourteen year old boys for everything they say! In retrospect, I even forgive the things said by fourteen year old boys when I was a fourteen year old girl!!

  8. Pam I Am December 16, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    My grandfather was a Pentecostal minister, so I grew up steeped in old school religion Black churches are known for having lengthy services: morning Sunday school, devotions, testimonies, soul-stirring choir selections, offerings and tithes, a passionate sermon, opening “the doors of church” to those seeking salvation and/or to officially become members, prayers, announcements, and finally benediction. Unless it was a first Sunday and then there was communion and/or baptisms before the day’s services were done. Then a return to evening services for a condensed version.

    “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6

    You would think that with my upbringing that I would be a true believer of religion, prayer, and faith. But I’m not. At least not in the conventional sense. I grew up hearing “prayer changes everything” with different scriptures cited to support the belief. I listened to the healing prayers and saw the “laying of hands” over sick bodies that stayed sick or progressed and died. But experiences, observations, and learning the bible’s history as a young adult led me to conclude that what I was taught is not all there is, or maybe not at all what there is.

    I still occasionally pray, but only for strength and peace of mind to face whatever comes my way. I never pray for a particular outcome. If God is omniscient and omnipotent, then I trust that the challenges He’s given me are for a reason I couldn’t possibly fathom. I try to accept it with grace and live my life as a good person, following Christ’s example even as I have doubts about the religion.

    Ultimately, I do think that we are spiritual beings (energy?) having physical experiences. I think through the ages mankind has shown a instinctual need or yearning to believe in something beyond ourselves to give us hope. Whether it’s modern religion or the mythology of ancient peoples (which often share similar elements), does the particular story we tell ourselves matter as much as the need to commune with that God particle? The hope that if we can just figure it all out, there will be an answer and a comfort when we are in pain.

    To me, hope is grounded in the universal need for connection and purpose. It doesn’t have to be religious-based. It can be based on the scientific idea that energy never dies, just reconstitutes itself. It can be based on paranormal dimensions yet to be discovered, or quantum theory, or Hamlet (“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    Or maybe hope is nothing more complicated than an instinctual survival instinct that keeps us going long enough to procreate the species.

  9. Louisa December 16, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    Can I just Amen to that, Pam?

    • Pam I Am December 16, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

      LOL…Yes, Louisa!

  10. Christopher December 16, 2015 at 6:37 pm #

    Awesome posts, everyone! Yours was definitely powerful, Pam. That’s funny, I was going to use Shakespeare in another thread a few weeks ago. Hamlet’s soliloquy is especially poignant for all the recent posts in the last few months.

    The power of prayer, and/or the power of getting in touch with something larger than ourselves, is something that is difficult to deny. Even science has weighed in on this with some really astonishing results. I’ve included a link to an interview with such a scientist. I think the research doesn’t make any assumptions or judgments, but it does show benefits. It also is showing, more and more, that our bodies and minds are constantly adapting to life (not just static systems) and much of it may actually be influenced by conscious control to some degree. It gives a new luster to all those old, dusty copies of Norman Cousin’s “Anatomy of a Disease.”

    My purpose in posting is not necessarily to sway anyone in any direction, but to present information I’ve found that may be of benefit when the world seems inordinately small–as it does with me most days. I’m not saying it’s a verifiable fact… but if our brains are as plastic as science suggests, maybe it’s not beyond the realm of possibility to mindfully improve our lives to some degree. Maybe with practice and support we can ‘take out the garbage’ stifling our minds, just like the broken oligodendrocytes littering or CNSs are purged by T-cells.

    Couldn’t hurt, right?

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104310443

  11. Sarah December 16, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

    The best thing about hope is that it is absolutely free.

  12. Betty December 16, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

    What a terrific string of responses. So thoughtful, brave, affirming and inspiring; all of them. I’m keeping this topic especially close to my heart and mind during this beautiful yet challenging time of the year. Thankful to have found this very special community, and wishing you all comfort and joy this holiday season, and always.

  13. Jan1 December 16, 2015 at 10:33 pm #

    Very nice, Betty… and to you, as well. Joyous holidays, all.

  14. Pat H December 17, 2015 at 5:50 am #

    Oh (and with irony noted)…for God’s sake. While the tenets of various religions espouse positive (in my opinion) values and goals (don’t hurt, don’t kill, don’t steal, etc.) the religious organizations themselves were created out of whole cloth for a variety of clearly non-positive reasons. Control, power, wealth and most evident in our current conflict with murdering sociopaths who hold up the fig leaf (yeah, I get the irony again) of it being religiously motivated, death. So, if hope were solely religious faith-based, it would not exist for me. But hope does indeed exist for me. I hope because I have seen help being created by humans who, for a variety of reasons, have sought out methods that are beneficial to me and to others, both in medicine and in other areas. Perhaps knowledge or science is my “religion”. I certainly have an unwavering faith in it, probably indistinguishable from the faith that some people put into thousands of years old stories. So, yeah. Hope can exist without religion, thank God (ok, that’s the last one). But, I wonder if it can exist without faith in something. Don’t know.

  15. Amy Corcoran-Hunt December 17, 2015 at 11:29 am #

    My hope is with Tisch and those stem cells and perhaps those UK folks who are putting vitamin D in stem cells, that sounds interesting. My hope is with my experience: I have been in many respects a very lucky person, so I am burdened with the hope that it will continue. Yes. I’m in a wheelchair now, but things have always always always turned out okay for me, if not great. Let’s just see. I’m talking to you, Tisch.

    I am an athiest. On some days, a Deist, what do I know? One thing I am sure of is no one is coming to save me or Save me. I get one life. This, right here, is the best place I’ll be. So I would be remarkably dopey indeed to not seek Happy and go ahead with the Hope. I do not like being in a wheelchair. But that is of no concern to the Universe at all, so I just move on.

  16. Jan1 December 17, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    Well, we here are all getting rather, thick–with good, solid discussions that exemplify various viewpoints, many of which I think are echoed in various spheres, health or otherwise.

    Was just speaking with a very close out-of-state friend this morning about these topics. Here is what she said:

    Helplessness + doubt = anxiety
    Helplessness + faith = hope

    So Richard, we hope, but place our ultimate hope differently.

    I like where we are attending church now in that the pastor has said that there are absolutes but that we should still understand where others are coming from and not judge (it’s not up to us to do that). And that’s good advice for me in dealing with our teens, I will say.

    And yes, some humans have abused power (and with a following, too). That’s another reason why I can learn from humans but do not place my hope in any human. For me, it’s about 2 Tim 2:23-26 I’ve been through a lot over the years, and if I myself only go by experience, I don’t think I’d be positive and hopeful. Can’t say that I was always that way–my faith has evolved and grown.

  17. Jan1 December 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    I just reread what I wrote, and this sentence should likely read:

    So Richard, we hope, but place our ultimate faith differently.

    So it seems to me that with hope we are encouraged, and what encourages each of us is based upon our own definitions of how we view faith: in whom or in what we trust.

  18. Yvonne December 17, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

    Science is based on facts and can be proven. There is no cure for MS. All the hope and faith in the world doesn’t change that fact but if it makes you feel better for believing in hope or the power of prayer then believe and pray. I gave up fairy tales and magic wands long ago but still enjoy a good story now and then from researchers killing mice or Dr.s peddling old drugs repackaged for further profit for big pharm. However, I’m grounded in my reality.

    • Jan1 December 17, 2015 at 10:37 pm #

      I will say that, for me, the power of prayer rests in my outlook, my thinking, my ability to relate to and accept others, accept who I am at heart, and not in a fairy tale cure if none exists. Yes, sure, a cure would be great, and I do certainly hope for that.

      But for me, hope and faith really are ultimately not about me or about a cure for MS but about seeking to discover and respond to whatever my true purpose is here on earth. (And, with MS, not the purpose or path I had planned, I will say). I’m a work in progress and continually search out what it is I am here for (amidst all the daily stuff of life).

      Will say that life was different when I was younger, both heath-wise and in thought (though I did not realize it then). For example, in raising young kids, with work, with volunteering for whatever, in helping parents, I just did what I needed to do, thinking about whatever was at hand.

      But now, everything seems so much more complex. Life is so short, really. All the “ick” around the world hits harder. I am more challenged now to find encouragement and purpose amidst MS itself and things that it caused: job loss, moving high schoolers to another state (how it affects my husband and kids), loss of a real passion for skating, a continual internal battle between the me I could have been and the me now.

      I cannot imagine for me personally how hard it would be if I did not strive to respond to the reason why Christmas is truly celebrated.

  19. Christopher December 17, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

    But a bigger problem arises, Yvonne. Science doesn’t really know anything. There’s just things we’ve invented, and theorized, and just got lucky finding because of tenacity and tireless doggedness. And we eventually found things after many failed tries. But that doesn’t mean that hope must be given up… on any end of the spectrum of science or belief.

    It just means that there’s just more we haven’t discovered, or uncovered, yet.

    What is the reality anyway, when the landscape keeps shifting. I’m not telling you what to think or believe–I think you sound very reasonable. I think that way sometimes too. I’m just saying there’s really no harm in those fairy tales when all they really do is try to lift spirits. There is something in that unfettered embrace of fantasy that actually changes a person. Sometimes literally, though it’s nearly impossible to prove. I love the story of “Kick the Can” in the Twilight Zone movie. It’s complete fantasy, but it makes me wonder if stuff like that might actually be possible… and we just haven’t discovered it yet. Same with the “Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” by Ray Bradbury.

    And I’m a scientist.

  20. Andrew December 18, 2015 at 2:05 am #

    Favorite Graffiti: “Reality is just a crutch for those who are afraid to believe in science fiction.” & “Don’t piss off the fairies!”
    Wisdom from Trudy the bag lady in Jane Wagner & Lily Tomlin’s, ‘Search for Intelligent Signs of Life in the Universe’: “What’s reality anyway but a collective hunch?” “How come when we talk to God it’s called prayer, but if God talks to us it’s called schizophrenia?”
    Faith in science “facts” and scholarly views of medical knowledge in its time has also given us blood letting, leeching and perhaps, someday, future generations will list statin drugs and generic cholesterol fixations. It is reported currently as a “medical fact” that there is statistically significant positive response to medications based on the placebo effect. What is that if not perhaps an inner desire, even if subconscious, for faith and hope.

  21. Louisa December 18, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    I am in love with that Mark Twain quote. I find it particularly relevant to MS – well the MS I seem to have – as it mostly just seems like accerlerated aging, the typical life experience in a condensed, extreme form. If I was seventy five, there would be nothing wrong with me. And everyone is going to have to be seventy five, unless he/she dies before that. I remain thankful for the good years I’ve had, hopeful there are more good times to come and open to the possibility that there might be discoveries made soon to improve the course of this disease. Why not?

  22. Yvonne December 19, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Sometimes I think how ridiculously people are as we try to put so mu

  23. Yvonne December 19, 2015 at 11:04 am #

    Sometimes I think how ridiculously it is for folks with chronic progressive diseases to put so much meaning to the words hope and faith. I honestly hear them used more by people who are hoping or praying for materialistic reasons or silly things like a parking spot at the crazy mall 6 days before Xmas. I think the fairies and Gods are exhausted by us humans and are rationing their responses because of our frivolous request. So take a number and get in the hope and faith line. Be prepared for the wait 🙁

  24. Christopher December 19, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    I know exactly how you feel. It’s just too exhausting for me to intellectualize everything all the time, and my mind needs a vacation.

  25. henriette December 19, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    Hope is my default.

  26. Kat December 20, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    Life is not fair. We are reminded of it every second of the day. It feels good to have faith in a higher being and hope for a better afterlife, but so difficult to keep the hope and faith going when one’s suffering is progressive.

  27. Jan1 December 20, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

    I understand that, esp. with the holidays, severe pain, and walking challenges galore.