Your Strength Comes From Your Struggles

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

by Sherri Woodbridge |

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I almost gave up. Ashamedly, I almost conceded to this battle against Parkinson’s disease. I almost surrendered to this hideous monster. Although I don’t really know what surrendering looks like exactly, I am pretty certain of what it can feel like.

Your will to fight back disappears. In its place, a thing called apathy takes over. You also concede to the battle inside your body that can all too often manifest on the outside of your body.

In my loss of will and my loss of fight, I retraced my steps as to why I felt like surrendering.

There were the ramifications of the COVID-19 virus. Social distancing meant no hugs. No hugs meant feeling lonely. For those of us who are huggers, this was extremely hard, both in the inability to give a hug and in the inability to receive one.

Shortly after the pandemic began affecting the health and well-being of our country, other personal health issues tried to steal my peace.

Then, there were the wildfires. While my son was working as a wildland firefighter, his house burned to ashes and his wife and two children fled for safety. The death of my brother followed close behind. I guess those are reasons enough to feel like surrendering and giving up. They at least brought much anxiety with them.

However, in the midst of all the turmoil, I was reminded of the delicacy of the butterfly. When nature tells them, “Wake up!” their journey of escape begins. They emerge from what has been home sweet home for about two weeks and become these magnificent creatures.

Its delicate body first emerges from a split in the front of the chrysalis with its wings folded. After awakening from its slumber, the butterfly’s wings are strengthened as the beautifully colored insect struggles to free itself and get on with life. A fluid is pumped through the veins in the wings, inflating them to the proper size. The butterfly must wait for its wings to harden before it can fly.

American writer Robert Tew wrote, “The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up.”

The butterfly doesn’t give up. It keeps pushing through that tiny hole, increasing its strength, its stamina, and its perseverance. This isn’t something a butterfly is taught. It is born with the mentality to fight, and fight it does.

That’s how I want to live my life: persevering through the struggles. I know Parkinson’s is a lifelong struggle, but I don’t want my struggle to be for naught. I don’t want to give up in any way and surrender to apathy or any other obstacle that vies to derail me from living my life to the fullest.

If my strength does indeed come from my struggles, then I want to welcome the struggles that teach me to keep pressing on and learning to fly, Parkinson’s or not.


Note: Parkinson’s News Today 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 Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


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