March 3, 2010

Please play again...

It’s roll up the rim to win time at the local coffee shop (Tim Horton's) , so of course I had to step in and try my luck at the prizes. Often, in a desperate attempt to win a swanky new TV or a car, I’ve become caffeine addicted at this time, trying larger and larger cups so that I can better my odds of winning a big prize. I’ve won a few donuts, a couple of coffees, the occasional bagel.

Today when I stopped in, I was reeling - smiling from the sunny day, unexpectedly wonderful in early March, and shaken from my visit to the new MS clinic. I’d gone, my heart in my mouth, worried about what they would tell me about my illness. Had it advanced? Was I doomed to life no more exciting? Would I be expecting to slide into a wheelchair anytime soon?

Of course, they couldn’t tell me that, as life with MS is too unpredictable, but what they did tell me was world changing in its impact. The new doc thought that I probably didn’t have MS my whole past 25 years. He thought my disease was really quite benign. And that it would most likely be “an irritant, more than anything else”.

Okay, this was initially hard to take as I sat there, in pain, unable to see clearly, legs uncomfortable and sore, cane leaning against the wall (I need it for walks longer than several blocks). An Irritant? I’d say! My whole life has changed since I was diagnosed - I’ve had to leave work, sleep all the time, lost my feeling...and had leg spasms of the extreme sort.

But then, a slight glimmer of light eased in through my newly acquired Buddha-esque calm. He wasn’t saying I didn’t have MS, he wasn’t offering me an escape, but what he offered me was the first explanation I’d had of how serious this really was, FOR ME. I’d never had any feedback about this before. I thanked him, and wandered off towards my next appointment in a bit of a daze.

And then I stopped for coffee.

I chowed down on the bagel I wish I’d had for breakfast, instead of having to get up at the crack of dawn to catch the bus. I sipped my coffee and listened to the chatter around me.

And then I rolled up the rim.

It read, “Please play again”

And I thought, yes. I will.

Like the coffee, we all have the chance to win or lose with this promotion, this world. We still get the coffee, whether we win or lose, which was what we wanted in the first place. And we all have the chance to play again. For me, this sang in my heart, and I almost burst into tears in the shop - tears of gladness, because this time I didn’t win the prize that I didn’t want. This time, I was told I was free, to play again.

I’m still smiling.