I have recently returned from a wonderful week’s holiday in the Lake District. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have a break, enjoy several walks and spend the week with an amazing group of people – friends old and new on this year’s Thinking Faith retreat at Boarbank Hall in Cumbria…
I last went on Thinking Faith in summer 2019 and I was planning on going in 2020, but like so many other things, it was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This made it feel even more special this summer. It’s also been a year since my Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery and so I spent much of the week feeling so grateful just to be there and able to participate more fully in the retreat, and feeling so much better in myself, thanks to my surgery.
Lost in The Enchanted Forest
During the last Thinking Faith in 2019, we managed to get lost on one of our walks (you can read my blog about that adventure here). This year, I am pleased to say we went on some beautiful walks without getting lost. However, we did find ourselves lost in an enchanted forest – in a game called called ‘Escape from the Enchanted Forest’ during one of our social evenings. We had to work together as a team to solve a series of rather complicated riddles to escape the enchanted forest. On my own, I probably would have given up before I had even read the instructions, but working with my Thinking Faith friends, we did it together and managed to find our way out of the forest. Yay!
How sweet the sound
As well as several wonderful walks and thought-provoking talks, games, a visit to Shap Abbey and fish and chips, there was also time for one of my favourite things… Singing. I’d like to thank my Thinking Faith friends (especially those who aren’t particularly keen on singing) for their patience, efforts and support as I tried to teach the group a version of Amazing Grace by my choir leader, Gitika Partington. We didn’t quite manage it in a 3 part round, but it did sound beautiful when we sang it all together in the chapel at the start of our final morning prayer together.
On our last day, we also managed to squeeze in time for a film. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, ‘Inside Out’ is a Pixar animation about 5 characters (emotions) called Joy, Sadness, Distrust, Fear and Anger, inside the brain of a girl called Riley. No spoilers, but part of the film is about Core Memories and how these can be lost and found… Which resonated with me this week as I had the opportunity to find out the answer to a question in an old blog (Memories of music and a QWERTY keyboard)…
…If a cure for Parkinson’s is found, I wonder if I will still remember how to play the piano…
There’s no cure for Parkinson’s as yet (but I remain hopeful), however I could not move my fingers enough to even think about playing the piano before my DBS surgery last year. I am now able to move my fingers much more easily, and so having access to a piano for the first time since my DBS surgery, I thought I would give it a try…
I am very rusty and out of practice and couldn’t quite remember all of the 3 pieces that I used to play from memory, but I am so very grateful and delighted to be able to say that I can now play the piano again!! Yay!! Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed being able to play again after all these years. At this point, I must say another big thank you to my Thinking Faith friends for their encouragement and patience as they had to listen to me playing the same bits of the same 3 pieces over and over and over again each afternoon/evening. I was so excited to discover that those memories of piano playing were not lost through Parkinson’s, but found through DBS!
Thank you: This blog is dedicated to my Thinking Faith friends, old and new, those who I shared the week with in person, and those who weren’t able to join us – you were in our prayers. To all those who were here this week – thanks for a wonderful week!
Thanks also to all of the community and staff at Boarbank Hall for looking after us so well and making us so welcome during our stay.
3 Comments Add yours
What a wonderful discovery, that makings music through a piano keyboard is accessible to you again! So pleased for you that you had such a fulfilling trip and that you’re still finding new benefits from the DBS .
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Thank you so much for this – it is truly uplifting and I am delighted your DBS was successful. You were so brave to undergo that treatment.
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I have loved reading this Angela. What a beautifully written piece. I am so happy to have shared this special week with you. God bless xx
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