What a novel idea, a benevolent thief! Is there such a thing as a benevolent thief? The short answer is yes there is but not a thief in the ordinary sense of the word and benevolent is probably not the right word either. A thief takes that to which he has no right. That he gives something else in return does not lessen the pain of the loss for what he has taken.
This blog post is not about any ordinary thief but a superlative and indiscriminate thief that comes to us in the guise of Multiple Sclerosis. He attacks quietly and for the early attacks we are not even sure that we have been attacked. Initially we do not know what has been stolen from us. We do not realise that something has been taken and something else has been given. The attacks are on indiscriminate targets and are of indeterminate duration and the damage caused varies from individual to individual. It is a lot more like vandalism. Vandalism has neither rhyme nor reason but neither has MS.
Let’s look at the individual words; one meaning of benevolent is ‘giving’ and one meaning of thief is simply a ‘robber’ and both those words should be mutually exclusive. A thief is a person who takes property that he does not own and a benevolent person is one who gives without preconditions. What does this have to do with Multiple Sclerosis you might ask?
Multiple Sclerosis is a thief, plain and simple a thief. For the most part MS takes and takes and takes and leaves us with less each time he strikes. He sneaks up on us, makes an attack and sometimes retreats while waiting for his next attack. Some of the attacks are short smash and grab raids. In and out quickly and we’re left reeling from the attack and wondering when he will leave and then wonder when, if ever, he will return for more. But for all that MS has a benevolent or giving side that takes time to notice. Sometimes it is difficult to spot what he has left behind, what he has brought to the party. David Osmond recently said “…it’s also one of the best things that’s happened to me because it’s given me a new perspective on life.”
MS has stolen the strength from my legs and my balance but you know what he has made me a better person, I think. MS has made me more appreciative of all of the good things in my life, my wife and family and friends. MS has made me more tolerant and forgiving. MS attacks all of us differently and with varying degrees of severity and I feel selfish when even thinking that I am grateful that it hasn’t attacked me with the severity that it has attacked others.