Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The greatest asset that we all possess and our greatest challenge in life are one in the same

Our greatest asset is also our greatest challenge. How can that be? What can it be? The answer is actually very simple. It is a single word that actually makes all the difference in the world. That little, but powerful word is CHOICE.

Every minute of every hour of every day, we make choices. Even choosing not to make a choice is a choice. How we respond to all of life’s occurrences is a choice. So make good choices. End of story. Or is it?

Do we always have a choice? Can you choose your height? Skin color? Make yourself invisible? I don’t have to tell you the answer. Certainly, there are some times when we don’t have a choice. But there is one area of life where we always have a choice. That choice is how we respond. The ability to choose how we respond at any given moment in life is our greatest asset. It is also our greatest challenge.

When I was first diagnosed with MS, I had several choices to make. That first choice was to go ahead and cry about it. That is exactly what my wife and I did. We cried mostly out fear of not knowing what the disease was or would mean to us. But that’s it. That was the only time we cried about it. We agreed then that nothing was more important than what we could teach our children. We made the choice that whatever the disease, we would approach it as best we could. We would learn about it, from it, and be an example to our children and others too. That, I believe, is exactly what has happened.

We made no changes in our lives or lifestyles. We continued to show up and participate in anything and everything we could. We knew that our reaction to this new ‘condition in our lives’ would have everything to do with how our children and others responded to it as well. Yes, we did add a few things to our lives (doctor’s appointments, injections, yoga, reading). But everything else remained the same.

We added language like “if we are lucky enough to live long enough, we all will probably have something to have to deal with,” giving our circumstances as much normalcy as possible. We made choices that proved to be good for the children and for us too. My MS continues to progress and we continue to make choices about it everyday.

What an extraordinary privilege it is to have a choice. Will today be a good day? I get to choose. Will I learn something today? I get to choose. Will I have a positive impact on the people around me, the ones I know and even the ones I don’t know? I get to choose. Having that choice is our greatest gift. Yet, the choices that we choose to make are our greatest challenge.

“Choice” is a huge topic, too big for one blog entry. I promise to offer more about this later. Until then, I hope you choose to respond to this blog and to make every day matter……because it does.


  1. What a wonderful observation on choice , Michael........how true.........we feel so impotent when we feel we have no choice about the things that happen to us.......like illness......death.......but we can ALWAYS choose how we will respond to these things..........and that's an important distinction..........thanks for making it !........peace and love.......Norma

  2. Hey Mike,

    Thanks. I really needed this tonight!