Reflections from Forrest’s Aunt Lynn:
I am honored to share my perspective on the recent Kennedy Center premiere of Music Got Me Here. This documentary film is a beautiful compilation of how two people crossed paths and because of it, so many lives have been touched.
There are times in life when difficult things happen. Sometimes these challenges cause a ripple of determination, goodness, heartache and tears, as well as joy and hope, to circle a family, a community – even a world – and make it better and stronger, filled with the best that the human spirit has to offer. We can see God’s love in action, working its way into hearts and providing comfort and strength.
The screening of Music Got Me Here at the Kennedy Center on January 10th brought seven challenging years to light. It showed the power of music as an instrument to connect two lives—Tom Sweitzer, who turned to music to heal his childhood, and Forrest, whose family sought help in the power of music therapy to bring back Forrest’s voice after his traumatic brain injury. The film powerfully documents how both people’s lives were changed by this connection.
In attendance that evening were so many of Forrest’s doctors. I am in awe of their talents to help heal people. Additionally, I was blessed to be a part of the journey and watch the village it took to bring about this miracle... so many contributors, so much love. The aides, the nurses, the amazing family support (Kent, Rae, and Austin, aunts, uncles, cousins), the therapists, the friends, the faithful groups of prayer partners all over the world, along with Tom’s talents and Forrest’s determination, were all key in piecing a beautiful puzzle back together. The movie is a inspiration that will keep bringing hope to others as it is shared.
And yet, the most inspiring part to me is the desire to give back and pay it forward. Forrest knows that his role in life now is to keep on helping others, and Tom continues to change lives as he works with more people facing struggles and guides others entering the field of music therapy. I can only hope that many more will be able to experience the power of hope in a world that often doesn’t feel hopeful. It’s a beautiful message.
I remember the standing ovations seemingly went on forever. People were moved by seeing this journey, a long one, a roller coaster ride filled with ups and downs. We walked in worn down by a world, and walked out inspired to live with hope and help be a part of making good happen. It was incredible to share in the joy of this moment of celebration.
There was an energy in the room that night that was powerful, like an electric current. Love is powerful. Hope is powerful. Music is powerful. Each of us has a chance to be a part of a “pay it forward” story every day in some big or small way. I know Tom, Kent, Rae, and Austin will be doing that. And especially Forrest, with his gratitude for what was done for him, his big heart and with Toliver by his side, always looking for ways to make the world around them better. May that be a message that resonates with all of us.
Aunt Lynn spent many months helping all of us us when I was hospitalized.
Renee Flemming, Susan Koch and Tom was Awesome!
Dr Kumar was on a mission in Peru, but it was great that Dr Armonda, one of the neurosurgeons who believed in me when I needed it most, was there!
It was really special having Granma Norma, Aunt Lynn and Aunt in Law Amy there!
Amy Stone is one of my great friends and a Co-Star in the film.
Renee Flemming graciously welcomed us all to the Kennedy Center.