Sunshine on my Shoulders

Posted: June 7, 2011 in Lyric Analysis, Music Therapy

Last Friday was a little rough for me.  The big problem was just the latest in the current wave of thunderstorms hitting my life – my car.  On Memorial Day, the body control module went out on me, so I had to take it in on Tuesday morning.  They said they’d probably get to it in the late afternoon, and they called me at around 4:45 to let me know they were still looking at it and would have to call again on Wednesday.  So on Wednesday, they called to let me know they needed to order a new part.  On Thursday, they called to say it was done, then called again to say “not so fast.”  So on Friday at around noon, they called to say that the part they ordered was a dud and they needed to order a new one, and I’d probably get my car back on Monday.  That kind of soured my mood, and I really didn’t want to do my remaining sessions.  However, I pushed my personal stuff aside.  Or tried to – it’s really tough with all that weight on your shoulders.

The client I was working with that day doesn’t really do much, so I mostly just try to find different things to engage his interest and encourage participation.  Part of that means that I try singing different songs.  And it just so happened that I opened my songbook to John Denver’s “Sunshine on my Shoulders,” so that’s what I sang.

When I got done with the song, something had happened.  Not to my client, he was staring off into space.  Something had happened to me.  It was like an enormous weight had been lifted.  The car issue was still there (as of this writing on Tuesday, they still have it), as was all the other pressure I’ve been feeling lately.  But something about the song reminded me that there’s still a lot in life to be grateful for.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me highIf I had a day that I could give you
I’d give to you the 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 waySunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me highIf I had a tale that I could tell you
I’d tell a tale sure to make you smile
If I had a wish that I could wish for you
I’d make a wish for sunshine for all the while

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost all the time makes me high

This song is one of my all-time favorites.  It’s very simple, it’s very beautiful, and there’s something bittersweet about the whole thing that just gives me goosebumps.  My first exposure to John Denver was the Christmas album he did with the Muppets, but I never really listened to anything else he did until I was in college.  He was a phenomenal songwriter, and this song is a fine example.

The point of the story, I guess, is that it’s important to have reminders every now and then that music is very powerful, even for therapists.  I think it was just what I needed, and I functioned much better for the rest of that day.

It happened again last night.  I was at a client’s house and was having some back pain issues.  I had made a coping CD for this client, and we were going through it.  We got to Sunshine on my Shoulders, followed immediately by Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds.  By the end of that pairing, my discomfort was gone.  Who needs drugs when I’ve got John Denver and Bob Marley?

That’s it for now.  Thanks for reading!

UPDATE (TUESDAY EVENING): Got my car back.  The remote doesn’t work, and they didn’t give me my promised car wash.  So on it goes…

UPDATE (THURSDAY MORNING): So my car wouldn’t start Wednesday morning.  We took it back in and they fixed it.  They tried to weasel another $100 out of us, but my wife was very firm that they should have fixed it the first time if they wanted to get paid.  I have it back, it started this morning, it got washed, hooray.  BUT, our power went out at around midnight last night when lightning struck the tree behind our house, taking out power lines, our shed, and our back fence.  I guess our metaphorical thunderstorm just became reality.  So on it goes…

  1. Dad says:

    About 1970 or 71 … BJ Thomas (Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head) was to appear at the biggest venue at Iowa State, and was sick. So this not so big person, gold rimmed glasses, carrying a huge stool and a huger guitar came out, set things down, came to the mike and said, “Hi! I’m John Denver.” There was very little polite applause – then. By the end, it was thunderous. As we say in these parts, “He to’ it up!”

  2. themtguy says:

    I’ve heard you tell that story before. It just goes to show you that you never know what you’re in for when you go to one of those events.

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