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H&H Week 5: I'm Alive.

This is the fifth Humans&Harmonies (H&H) blog post. Every Friday, another H&H blog post will be released. Each post will have an associated song that you can watch and listen to via YouTube. The songs are written from a perspective other than my own. This week the song is written from the perspective of a camper I met in the Black Hill of South Dakota. He had an inspiring story that I just had to share. Click HERE to listen to this week's song called "I'm Alive."

The lyrics to "I'm Alive." are at the bottom of this page for reference.

“I had a stroke four years ago, when I was 58 years old. I tried to go back to work, but I didn’t have any feeling in my left hand or my left leg anymore. I was a tooling mechanic, so that made work difficult and more stressful than it had been in the past. On top of that, I couldn’t control my emotions. There were times when I’d be working in the shop and all of a sudden I would burst into tears. I would quickly hide my face and find a corner of the room. Then I would curl up and cry for about ten minutes. Right there in the shop. It was terrible, and I still had ten years before I was planning to retire.”

It was about 7pm on a Tuesday in late August, and the alternator wasn’t working. We were driving through the Black Hills of South Dakota. The tranquil scenery contrasted with our worrying minds — would the car battery last long enough for us to find a campsite?

The battery gages were getting low while we tried to find a campsite. Yikes!

We soon found out that all campsites were full by reservation, and the car batteries were draining quickly as we idled. There was a man overlooking our situation from a distance — he and his wife seemed to be perusing the campground with a certain confidence about them. We made eye-contact a few times, and he could probably see the stress in my face. He slowly walked up and said, “I can tell you where you need to go.”

He directed us toward a small campsite that had a pickup truck parked in it. He climbed into the truck and backed it out of the area. Then he motioned for me to back into the vacated site.

We got settled for the evening and enjoyed a night under the stars. In the morning, we had a chance to talk to this man who had saved us from catastrophe. Turns out, he was a full-time camper. He had retired only a few years earlier due to a stroke. He decided it was God’s way of telling him that he didn’t have as much time left as he had planned, and that he needed to get out of the house and live.

With the help of a fellow camper, we found a spot to sleep for the night.

Camping had always been relaxing for him and his wife, and the doctor thought it would help with controlling stress levels, in addition to the other benefits of fresh air, consistent exercise, and beautiful scenery. They sold everything they owned, bought a nice camper, and they tow it all over the country behind their truck. If they really like a site, they stay for a few weeks -- which is why he knew there was an extra non-reservable site where his truck was parked.

This couple had a great setup: a large premier camper, with their own flagstand to post outside!

What struck me was this man's ability to communicate how this journey had affected him. He explained, “before the stroke, I never cried. I was told that men aren’t supposed to cry. But I couldn’t control it. The stroke had messed up my head a little. It was humbling, and I became a totally different person. I’m softer now, and I’m thankful for that.”


working hard everyday

i’m using my hands

ten-year plans, retirement days,

we’ll get there when we can

woo! woo!

one day i lost my way

doctor called it a stroke

hands lost all feelings

but i’ve got to say i’ve gained it in my soul

and tears have never fallen this hard before

they told me men ain’t supposed to cry when they feel alone

and i’ve got to live while i'm alive

i’ve got so much to give before i die

oh i’m alive

woo! woo!

and tears have never fallen like this before

they told me men ain’t supposed to cry when they feel alone

and i’ve got to live while i’m alive

i’ve got so much to give before i die

oh i’m alive

Getting outside is a great way to improve your health!

#cannoncooley #imalive #HandH #singersongwriter #originalsong

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