Growth Takes Time, So Don’t Lose Hope

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by Katie Griffith |

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Hello there! This time of year, the weather can be very unpredictable. I always associate spring with signs of new life sprouting up all around, but tend to forget it takes rain to make things grow. As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.”

Unfortunately, along with the rain often comes thunder, lightning, and even occasional tornadoes. I enjoy the end result, but not the process it takes to get there.

Personal growth is a process as well. When I was young, I had many goals and expectations of how my life would turn out and what kind of person I would be. Life seemed like something I just had to go out and conquer.

Then, circumstance by circumstance — some of it out of my control, such as my son, Noah, being diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia — life seemed to be conquering me.

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As the illusion of control seemed to melt away, in its place came hopelessness and fear. Did I honestly have any power over what the future would bring? My child was losing his ability to walk, and it seemed like there was nothing I could do about it.

Instead of being excited about new opportunities and upcoming experiences, I dreaded what the years ahead would bring. Hope seemed hard to come by.

As I shared in a previous column, author and stroke survivor Katherine Wolf has been an inspiration to me. Her book “Hope Heals” was one of the first books I read after Noah’s diagnosis. In it, she writes, “If hope is only rooted in an outcome, then your expectations will crush you.”

If Wolf’s only requirement for moving on with her life had been to receive complete healing, then she would have missed out on so many of the joys that came in spite of her disabilities, including the birth of her youngest son, John.

I can choose to live my life and gauge my happiness based on unattainable outcomes, or I can chose to live in spite of them. Often as we look back, we realize that some of our losses have been blessings in disguise.

While I cannot control my circumstances, I can control how I respond to them. I can choose to celebrate the small victories, to speak kindly to myself, and to do the next right thing.

These things do not happen overnight. Growth takes time. Just as a seed doesn’t bloom after only one watering, we need time to work through our grief and come to a place where we can experience beauty again.

Author and songwriter Justin McRoberts tweeted these beautiful words that spoke deeply to me:

“Mourning does not
simply become dancing.
It must be planted
in the soil of hope and good counsel,
watered with the tears
of uncurbed grief
and then harvested
by the choice
to move my feet again.”

If you are in a place where hope seems lost, may I encourage you? Even though life is hard, it is worth living. A little bit of growth, day by day, year by year, adds up over time. One day, you may wake up and realize just how far you have come.

Note: Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Friedreich’s Ataxia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Friedreich’s ataxia.


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