A Change in My Life
Steve Walsh 11/24/2019
Its that time of year again. The days are getting shorter. The leaves are changing colors and the temperatures are getting colder. It’s November and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. For some Thanksgiving means parades, football on TV, and turkey dinner. Others may view it as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Whatever it means to you, I hope that you include some time to reflect on the blessings that have come your way. I was doing just that (reflecting) last night when a song that I had not heard in awhile began playing in my head. Before I tell you the song here’s the back story.
I regularly attend the weekly Music Therapy group at the Parkinson’s Support Center each Wednesday. Jenny, our therapist, makes the sessions fun. At the same time we improve our coordination and exercise our vocal chords. We must keep those vocal chords strong! In addition, last month I attended the monthly Music Therapy group offered at Norton’s Hospital St. Matthews for the first time. The theme of the Norton’s group last month was “Changes”. We listened to songs like Jimmy Buffet’s “Changes in Latitudes”, Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”, and Stevie Nicks’ “Landslide”, while playing rhythmic instruments like drums or bells. We then talked about how change affects us and how we might best deal with change. Then at our weekly meeting last Wednesday Jenny played a verse of “Amazing Grace” as we practiced our breathing exercises. After the breathing exercises, Jenny asked the group if we had any particular song or songs that had special meaning to us. My response was that there was not one specific song but that it often seemed that a song would come on the radio that would help me just when I needed it. It’s against this backdrop that the song “A Change in My Life” popped into my head this morning. I first heard this song in the 1992 movie “Leap of Faith” starring Steve Martin. You can find several versions on YouTube but the one from the movie is still my favorite. Here’s the link. If you can, give it a listen before you continue reading.
“I’ve been lonely, I’ve been cheated, I’ve been misunderstood”
The song begins with the singer at a low point it his life. Many of us with Parkinson’s can relate to the singer. I know when I received my diagnosis, I was the only Parkinson’s patient I knew. I didn’t have anyone to talk to about the disease and what to expect. Fortunately, my Primary Care Physician recommended a local boxing group (shout out to Coach Harry Cummings and the gang at the International Boxing Club in Toledo, OH!) and I found others to help me along my journey. As far as cheated goes, I know many of us have experienced those “Why me” or “It’s not fair” moments at some point when dealing with our diagnosis. When it comes to being misunderstood, well I can write another whole paper on that. Oh wait, I already did ( http://yourvoice.parkinsoncenter.org/2019/09/27/but-you-look-good-a-parkinsons-pet-peeve/ ).
“But with you I belong, cause you help me be strong”.
This next line that speaks to me as both a Parkinson’s patient and a PSCKY client and board member is self-explanatory. Fighting Parkinson’s is not for the weak of heart. I don’t care how strong you are we all need help from time to time. I’ve said this many times. Every time I attend a support group meeting, an exercise class, or a therapy session I come away motivated and inspired by my fellow patients and caregivers. Every time one of us falls there are two more to help us get back up. We are stronger when we stand together.
“There’s a change in my life since you came along”.
Then there is the hook. I’m pretty sure that when the song was written the “you” was intended to be Jesus. For me the “you” in the song is – well it’s you – the one reading this. When I think back on how my life has changed these past few years, I can’t help but be thankful for all the amazing people who have come into my life since my diagnosis. So, as Thanksgiving approaches, I want to give special thanks to all of you Support Group leaders and members, Exercise Instructors, PD Punchers, Dancers, Writers, Volunteers, Health Care Professionals, Donors, Caregivers, Facebook PWPs, and all your amazing family members. There has indeed been a change in my life since you came along.
Finally, extra special thanks to Erika, Brenda and Andie. We can never thank you enough for all the work you do on our behalf. I could fill the rest of the page up with heart emojis and that still wouldn’t be enough. The best I can do is offer a sincere and heartfelt Thank You!
If you are interested there is another song from the Leap of Faith soundtrack that we can all relate to. It is titled “Are You Ready for a Miracle?” You bet we are! Here’s a link.