experiences to enjoy.” (iliketoquote.com)
The sun was out today and it felt absolutely wonderful! After a very cold and long winter, what an encouragement it was to feel the warmth of the beautiful sunshine. Normally I am a stickler for wearing coats at school, but today I admittedly bent the rules a bit. I took my students out a little early because I had yard duty and it was so nice. When we got outside, it was even more beautiful than I anticipated, so when I was asked if they could remove their coats, I quickly agreed. It was so funny to see each child’s face light up as he or she was set free from the bondage of heavy winter gear. They could run around in total freedom and they were clearly delighted. One kid was laying on top of the enormous pile of coats making “snow angels” in total bliss! So funny and sweet! What a wonderful feeling to feel the sun on your shoulders and the freedom of recess! I remember those good, carefree times when I was a kid so fondly.
For many years I sang with a group called The Dale Butler Band. It was a very memorable time in my life singing at many local venues in the area for concerts and fund raisers. The repertoire of songs was very diverse including: southern gospel, pop, bluegrass, country and easy listening. The band was amazing and singing backup with such a talented group of vocalists and musicians was an incredible experience for me that I will always cherish. Although I had many favorites in the band’s very broad list of titles, clearly my favourite songs were the many hits of John Denver. I have long been a fan of John Denver so when Dale phoned me to join up with his band for the first time to work on of all things a John Denver tribute show, needless to say I was elated! Although it is a hard decision, I would say my favourite John Denver song is Sunshine on My Shoulders. If I do say so myself Dale and I had some beautiful harmonies going on it and I just loved the “feel good” message it provided. Every time after that, if ever we had John Denver songs on the line up, I would always put a request in for that one! The chorus says “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.” The first verse goes on to say “If I had a day, that I could give you, I’d give to you a day just like today. If I had a song, that I could sing for you, I’d sing a song to make you feel this way!” The song just speaks to me that if we could, we would love to provide wonderful days for everyone. It would be so perfect to order only sunshine and rainbows for this world, but clearly that is not what life is really like. Problems and heavy hearts can prevent us from frolicking in the sun like we once did.
When I led group therapy sessions, I often ran groups based on The Twelve Steps. The first step is admitting we have a problem and that our life had become unmanageable. We cannot make profound change, until we realize what is hindering us from moving forward. To illustrate this in a funny and creative way I would often do what became affectionately known as “the backpack” skit. In this skit I would wear a heavy backpack that represented my “problems” and showed how people try to handle them in a variety of ineffective ways. I would cover the backpack with a sweater illustrating how we think we are covering it well yet are sadly mistaken. People realized I had a big, noticeable hunchback under the sweater, representing that people can see when we are burdened even if we are in denial. In the skit I would also try to ignore it, convince myself it didn’t really exist or minimize the impact these problems were having on my everyday life. The skit ended with the message that we must surrender our problems by acknowledging them to be truly free. I showed this by removing the backpack and encouraging people to seek help from professionals, family, friends and God. Life was never intended to be a struggle and to start the process of breaking free as soon as possible was essential. It was a comical way to illustrate this premise, but many people told me that this little dramatic production really touched them and gave them some much needed perspective.
It is very difficult to admit that we have struggles at times. We want to save face and don’t want to make it seem to others that we are not our old selves. I have always said that reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of true strength. It takes very strong and courageous people to admit they cannot deal with things on their own. A very powerful TV show I sometimes watch is called Intervention. Intensely I watch feeling the pain of the addicted and their families, as I have worked with them. I cry at their heartaches and rejoice when the addicted person accepts the much needed treatment offered. The first step to a better life has begun! How exciting for everyone.
The Bible says “ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” You may be burdened with very difficult issues. Your heart may be so heavy, to even get out of bed each morning is next to impossible. My wish for you is to release these burdens to God, get help and take the positive steps to recover that are needed. It was never part of God’s plan that you would just exist and go through the motions in life. One of the most powerful sermons I have ever heard emphasized that each and every one of us was created with a specific purpose. Each one of us has enormous potential and we were created to fulfill that potential, yet stress and problems can sometimes get in the way. We all have talents, skills and love to offer this world as only we can. The speaker said sometimes we doubt that and say to ourselves God must be thinking, “Oh great! What am I supposed to do with this one?” You are here for a special reason and don’t you forget it! Life was meant to be enjoyed and you were created to be a celebrated gift to this world. Let that sink in. There is no one else quite like you, and this world desperately needs what you have to offer. Oh how I want you to fully grasp this. I wish for you sunshine on your shoulders and a song in your heart. Do what you need to do to get back to that place if you need to. Know that when life gets hard, there are better days in store if we keep taking one day at time, reach out for help and believe in God’s plan for us to heal and move forward. I have included the link to Sunshine on My Shoulders below as well. I hope you enjoy it and know that this is my sincere wish for you!
Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Little Lesson Learned: Step into the sunshine. You deserve to be happy and feel lighthearted. It is God’s plan for you!
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014