“Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” ~ Mary Anne Radmacher
I have attended Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans, Louisiana since I was a child. It’s crazy because the parades and parties start a month before the actual big day (Fat Tuesday). And every year, I am there either partying with friends or going to parades with family.
But this year, I felt different. I didn’t want to do anything. I blamed my outlook on fatigue and being wheelchair bound but really that wasn’t it. I think I was a little down and feeling sorry for myself.
Then I got the following message from my Internet friend, from Canada, Christine.
Nicole- “I am sending you this message because I am heading to New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year and I am hoping you could give me some insight as to going with a disability. I have rented a scooter for the trip, as I want to conserve my energy and not get too exhausted. We are going for my 40th birthday and I had real reservations about it but thought it isn’t going to get any easier in the future and I have always wanted to go. Thanks for any advice you can offer in advance and keep up you wonderfully honest outlook on life.” – Christine Kens Rutherford
After reading that, how could I say no? I know Christine because she reads my blogs and I was excited to actually meet her in person. So I quickly shook off the blues and began planning some places to go and some parades to attend. I’ll be damned if I let a Mardi Gras rookie out do this veteran. So I set up an itinerary for myself.
She got to New Orleans on a Friday night. The next day, in between parades, I met Christine, her husband Kip, and two friends Tahir and Shadya, for beignets in the French Quarter. We sat, talked and ate. Which are all my favorite things. It was so great. I was really weak but still able to ask a couple a questions I had about how she was dealing with MS.
After about an hour, we said our goodbyes, Christine got on her scooter and off they went to another parade.
I had a wonderful time and was really inspired by Christine. She doesn’t let MS stop her from living a productive life. Even the times when she isn’t able to achieve what she originally set out to do, at least she tried. And that’s something MS can never take away, your ability to try.