I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood
When I arrived for the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California‘s 2014 Candlelight Gala, I noticed that I was “In Oz.” This was not the first time that I had walked into Oz. I have written about epilepsy and Oz earlier this year. In 2013, I discussed how having epilepsy felt very much like living In Oz. I am not the only person to make this connection. The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota completed their 31st Camp Oz this summer for youth with epilepsy. For some people, there is no place like home. For others, home feels like Oz.
The Wizard of Oz is a universal metaphor… and perhaps more universal for people affected by epilepsy. Characters are transported to strange places. The characters forge unusual relationships and face unnecessary challenges. After doing the impossible, we learn that we merely needed to click our ruby red shoes and everything would have been fine. The entire time, people watch us through a crystal ball. If not for our unlikely friendships, many of us would not have survived.
The longer that I advocate, the more friendships nourish me. I am also inspired by those who honor important relationships. During the awards ceremony, one doctor introduced the recipient who is also his mentor. Spouses and children were honored for their support. Colleagues honored each other during their speeches. One recipient thanked her “three different families.” Lions and Tigers and Bears….
For this post, I created a photo gallery with 111 photos. This is my way to honor my friendships and the people who have helped me contribute to our journey… the people who paved the yellow brick road. On January 11, 2011, (1/11/11) I met Tony Coelho a few blocks from the Julia Morgan Ballroom. (Here is my old blog post.) I committed to “telling our stories,” teaching others how to do the same, and to being a good role model. Sometimes, I forget to use my brain (and not because I have epilepsy.) Other times, I lack courage. Sadly, too often I lack heart. I never forgot that I am just one of many.
While I (always) have more to write, I thought I would close with lyrics from the Animals song “San Francisco Nights.” I opened this post with a different Animals song — one that I have been singing since someone confused me for a doctor at the gala. (As an epilepsy patient, I feel more affinity with the time traveling Dr. Who.) At the Gala, there was a British Invasion cover band, and the Animals were part of the invasion. This last song was specific to 1967, but I like to extend it to our time and our larger epilepsy community.
“To the city and people of San Francisco, who may not know it, but they are beautiful and so is their city….”