The weekly self-syndicated newspaper column “Disabilities” has appeared in more than 260 newspapers since 2002. To join the Facebook page or read archived columns, see www.danieljvance.com.
By Daniel J. Vance MS, LPC, NCC
The movie Alone Yet Not Alone chronicles the true, faith-filled story of Regina and Barbara Leininger surviving the eighteenth-century French and Indian War.
In mid-January this year, the movie's theme song (bearing the same name) received an Oscar nomination. That nomination lasted about two weeks. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Board of Governors then rescinded the nomination because the songwriter had sent an email mentioning the song to some voting members.
Joni Eareckson Tada of Agoura Hills, California, sang the movie's theme song. She was surprised hearing about the nomination and the subsequent withdrawal.
In a telephone interview, 64-year-old Eareckson Tada said, “The power of the song is in its message, which is that no matter the hardship or tragedy in life, God promises he will never leave nor forsake us. The film is set in 1755 and features two young sisters kidnapped during war. It's their faith, and this family hymn, that helps them stay strong and endure hardship. That's why the song resonates with me. Sometimes I feel a little alone in this 'stand up' world.”
Eareckson Tada became a quadriplegic in 1967 following a diving accident and today uses a power wheelchair. Thirty-five years ago, she founded Joni and Friends, an international ministry serving people with disability. She has been a disability advocate, author, radio show host, and artist. She appeared on Larry King Live four times.
She said, “As a quadriplegic, I don't have great lung capacity or the physical pipes to hit the high notes. So for the song, (my husband) Ken in the recording studio had to push on my tummy to give me air for those notes.”
The producers of Alone Yet Not Alone had heard Eareckson Tada singing impromptu at last year's National Religious Broadcasters Convention before giving her the nod to sing the movie theme song.
To people recently becoming quadriplegic, she advised, “First, it's important to grieve and cry, and understand God grieves with you. In Lamentations chapter three, the Bible says God does not willingly, from the heart, afflict his children. He's grieved, and it's good to know he's in our camp, but there has to be a time when you push the Kleenex box aside and ask questions about how to live and for what (purpose). The Bible is filled with references about the good things that come out of terrible hardship.”
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