Overcoming Challenges by Looking at the Beautiful Pieces of Life

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by Hawken Miller |

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Every second of our existence is like a puzzle piece falling into place on a seemingly endless dining room table.

Some pieces are good and happy. Others are sad and dejected. Even the smallest, least important parts of the final image matter.

When living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, there seem to be a lot of sad pieces. But there are still good pieces, like a smile from a stranger, the call of a songbird, or the sun beaming on your face.

To overcome the daily struggle of living with this disease, one must see and appreciate the small, happy things in life. That’s served me well in my journey with this degenerative, muscle-wasting condition.

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Yes, I have a lot going against me. But I also have a lot going for me. I live in Southern California, one of the most sought-after places to buy a home. Every breath in my lungs keeps me alive. My parents love me unconditionally.

Have you ever thought about how the human body works? There’s the intricacy of the nervous system, how every cell in the body communicates with one another, and our ability to turn oxygen into carbon dioxide. These pieces of the puzzle somehow fit together every millisecond of the day.

It can take your breath away. So we fight the negative with the beautiful reality that we inhabit. Sometimes we lose, and that’s OK. But if we can win a lot of the time, we’ll find greater peace and understanding.

I encounter times when everything seems to be going wrong. I feel weaker, and there’s a new physical activity I can’t do anymore. I’m overwhelmed by managing my care, between going to doctors’ appointments and scheduling personal care assistants to help me groom myself, cook, and use the bathroom. And on top of it all, I’m exhausted beyond words.

When life feels like climbing a mountain that’s collapsing at the same time, I try to take a second to breathe. Each breath is a gift from God, and it helps to remember the beautiful parts of being alive. Those seemingly little things that I missed before acquire newfound significance when I take a second to be. It somehow makes the gargantuan challenges I’m facing seem smaller.

Perspective makes a huge difference. Counting up all the things I can be grateful for puts me in a better mood and helps me make sense of everything that’s coming at me. It makes me realize how beautiful the world and the people in it are, and that’s enough to brighten my day in the midst of darkness.

I’m not perfect at doing this. I realize Duchenne is a hard disease. But that also means we should try to use everything in our arsenal to defeat the negative emotions and feelings it brings.

The next time you feel like everything is falling apart, take a look at the birds and listen to their songs. Or tell someone who means a lot to you that you love them. Add up the small, sweet things and you get a beautiful, completed puzzle.

Note: Muscular Dystrophy 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 Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.


Robin Dix avatar

Robin Dix

Perspective really does make a difference! Hard days feel like they're here to stay, but they're not. We need to focus on good things in the midst of our storms. I have Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy and have many challenges and changes as well.

Keep fighting and moving forward! God bless you 😀


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