With his ear-buds in, his face glowed with a youthful shine and his easy, authentic smile seemed to tell a valued story. Suffering from Parkinson’s but living at full throttle, my stepfather exuded a feeling of peacefulness as he listened to a beautiful version of Stand By Me. It became his favorite song in his last months of life.
The version he listened to was created by a movement called, Playing for Change. With the use of a mobile recording studio, the producers and the song traveled around the globe. Artists from New Orleans, Amsterdam, Brazil, The Congo and many other locations, contributed freely and passionately, their vocal or instrumental talents (you can check it out on the Internet). It’s incredible and inspiring. Playing for Change works to bring peace to the world through music. The idea for their project “arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race.” (www.playingforchange.com)
The message in the song is that “no matter who you are, no matter where you go in your life, at some point you are going to need somebody to stand by you.” I wonder what my stepfather was thinking listening to that song. People from all over the world, expressing themselves freely, artistically and working together~ a beautiful image. He was an artist, but with Parkinson’s, he couldn’t express himself so much anymore, artistically or verbally. Maybe he was reminiscing of his days of art and abundant abilities, or imagining a peaceful world where everyone would take good care of one another or maybe just because he had someone to stand by him, he appeared so fresh and fortunate as he listened to the song.
Stand by me is like vows at a wedding; for better or worse, in sickness or in health, for richer or poorer, but it doesn’t have to be only between a married pair. It can be a best friend, a kiddo, a neighbor or anyone. When somebody stands by you authentically ~ they respect you exactly as you are, they love and care for you selflessly, they encourage and support you in whatever makes you the best you can be, they are there for you, without hesitation. Everyone needs that!
The song says, “I won’t be afraid, not as long as you stand by me.” Fear declines when we know someone has our back and best interest. My stepfather wasn’t worried about his present state or his current abilities, he was as peaceful as one could be. What if everyone had someone to stand by them ~ wouldn’t that be great!
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Perhaps the love and security everyone would feel would eliminate insecurities, fears and judgments, and more peace would prevail. Do you stand by somebody? It is a gift.