Saturday, July 5, 2008

MS-Free Zones

Last week I helped my sister Helene, who asked me to come in and do hair & makeup for 10 actors & actresses appearing in "Charley's Aunt". The students were awesome and so patient with me as I played around with different wigs and moustaches and makeup techniques. I actually had to pull out my old college textbook to remember how to properly apply a bald cap (Yes, I actually had an entire course in college devoted to stage makeup techniques!) 
I re-learned old makeup techniques and invented some new ones. But what I really learned last week came as a complete surprise... 

For three hours a day I was just "Caroline, the lady helping with hair & makeup". The kids didn't know that my feet have been almost entirely numb for weeks. They didn't think anything of it when I squinted one eye at them, or looked at them sideways to try and see them better. They had no clue that I was anything other than clumsy when I dropped things every five minutes. They merely thought I was flaky when I asked them the same questions, "Did I tie the gold ribbon or the pink ribbon in your hair yesterday?" when in reality my short term memory is not what it used to be.

For three hours a day for five whole days I was just someone who helped put on a show. As I braided hair and powdered faces I could almost forget the constant pain, the numbness, the poor vision. I could almost, Almost forget that I had MS. For three whole hours!

It reminds me of the line from "The Wizard of Oz", in the very beginning, when Auntie Em tells Dorothy to go find "a place where there isn't any trouble".

"A place where there isn't any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It's not a place you can get to by a boat or a train. It's far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain..." And Dorothy begins to sing my favorite song.

A place where there isn't any trouble...
An MS-Free Zone...A place where MS is not allowed to visit.

In those few precious hours I learned that moments in time exist where I can just be Caroline. I can make-believe that i am not sick, not in pain, not impaired. I know it is simply a moment and it will not last; however, having those moments gives me strength. And hope. It makes the moments of pain and frustration a little easier. 

Who knows where the next MS-Free Zone will be? I am excited at the thought of it, whether it is three hours or three minutes. I aim to find more of them. And then somehow, slowly, I may be able to find my way back to myself. Not my former self, but a new version. Someone I am still getting to know, but every day liking a little bit more. :-)


Kimberly said...

I love you so much - every incarnation of you. And they just keep getting more beautiful. Something very few can claim.

Love you

Gilbert McLemore said...


You don't know me but I know both your Mom and Dad. I for 35+ years have been very fond of them both. I dated your mom for a time in high school and knew your dad then as well, although I don't know if they knew each other then - I don't remember. I have a son that your dad saw even before I did. He was Rhett's pediatrician up until a few years ago (after he "got grown").

I am blogging to let you know that your blog has just blessed my socks off. We all have been through various storms. We are all either in a storm, going into a storm or coming out of a storm. Your courage is overwhelming and inspiring. You remind me of a saying - "It ain't the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog!" Your "FIGHT" is HUGE!

Three and a half years ago, I contacted your grandmother Crayton to find out how to get in touch with your mom to wish her a happy 50th birthday. I would see your dad from time to time but your mother's path and mine haven't crossed in decades. Since then your sweet mom and I have emailed a half a dozen times or so and she told me about your "storm". Since that day over a year ago, my wife and I have had your name on our prayer list in our Sunday School class at church and our prayer warriors have prayed for you by name. Several months went by and I emailed your mom for a "Caroline update" to share with our class and she emailed me back the web address for your blog. When I went to it, I couldn't quit reading. You have a true gift of communication. Your words jumped off the page and I ended up reading everything on there...I mean everything, comments and all. If your blog was a book..."I couldn't put it down."

Caroline, we never know what life will bring but I do know this - God has a reason for everything and I am convinced HE is somehow using you to be an inspiration to others because HE could count on you. Well...HE was right and you sure have been.

God Bless You. I thank HIM for you and how HE has used you. You have no idea how you and your message have shown a light onto so many people's paths..., including mine.

Mandy said...

We wanted to say hey and let you know we are thinking about you! (I'm in town spending a few days with Christina) It has been a while, but I regularly read your blog for updates... You truly have been such an inspiration through your courage and words, and I am amazed at your spirit!
If there is ever anything you need or anything we can do to help, please let us know! We love you and we will continue to lift you up in our thoughts and prayers!
Much love always,
Mandy and Christina