Inspiring Courage

In my life, I have been blessed with some wonderful friends. My best friends in life have known me in my brokenness and have loved me just the same. My husband and I just had the wonderful opportunity to go to Denver, Colorado to see a concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater with some of our best friends. This has been a friendship that has spanned over the last thirty years and is still going strong. We have had the pleasure as young married couples of raising our kids together and all growing up together. Now we are getting to grow old together. When Brannon and Trish invited us to go with them on this trip, I didn’t hesitate. Colorado was on my bucket list. I had only flown one time and that was in 2000. Although I had vowed I would never fly again, nothing could stop me from getting on that plane to Colorado! What changed my mind? I changed.

Having the opportunity to blog about my journey with Multiple Sclerosis with Bard Care has been both healing and fulfilling. The biggest blessing has been the friendships that I gained along the way. Most of my friends/fellow contributors with Bard Care have sustained life changing injuries or have had life changing circumstances. I am in the minority as I am not rolling through life currently. The funny thing is my fellow contributors, who use chairs, are much more adventurous than I am. They are not sidelined by their circumstance. Yet, even prior to my diagnosis, I have lived a life clinging to the sidewalk. They are musicians, they water ski, snow ski, do triathlons, go horseback riding, travel abroad, play tennis competitively and win, etc.! It was about a year ago that I had the opportunity to meet some of them in person. I sat enthralled as I listened to their stories and became inspired to try to learn to live with some of the same passion that they lived with. I was completely amazed by their perseverance. What made them different from me? They had already adopted the “I Can” attitude.

Flying above the clouds, staring out the window, traveling to Denver was invigorating.

Walking the streets of downtown Denver was surreal. I couldn’t believe that I was checking an item off of my bucket list!

I was captivated by the Rocky Mountains and overwhelmed by the beauty of the Red Rocks.

Being with my husband and our friends was medicinal. Making it to the top of the stairs at the Red Rocks Amphitheater with my cane was very satisfying! Stairs are my fear as I don’t maneuver them very well. When my husband and friends saw the climb we had before us they were all concerned. Trish said “Karen, are you going to be able to climb those stairs?” I replied “Oh yeah, I can!”

However, I did not turn down the offer of riding the assistance van back down. After a wonderful concert experienced in the breathtaking amphitheater, my husband and I, along with our friends, climbed in the van all very grateful, I can assure you. Set aside my need to walk with a cane, the higher altitude had us all feeling the need for a little oxygen. I looked at Trish as we were being shuttled back down the mountain and rubbed my shiny aquamarine cane. I smiled and said, “Have cane, will travel.”

My need for assistance was a bonus to all. You truly have to celebrate the little things friends!

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. - Nelson Mandela


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