I'll still be me and fixing the past
by Ken Rolheiser
One of my favorite identity jokes is when a policeman stops Murphy and asks him to identify himself. Murphy looks in the car mirror and says, “Yes, officer; it’s definitely me!”

As I watched the Glen Campbell documentary I’ll Be Me recently I thought about how we live our lives. When we meet the Lord, how will He find us? The answer is, “I’ll still be me.”

But what will I be like then? That question should motivate our lives. If we are not happy with who we are right now, let’s make some changes.

Glen Campbell is an inspiration of a life well lived. At 75, suffering from Alzheimer’s he is still trying to make people laugh. He’ll hold out his hand to give you something then withdraw it with a smile.

Campbell’s struggle with Alzheimer’s has not stopped him from going on a last tour sharing the gift of his life and talent with us. Amazingly the musical area in his brain keeps functioning even as he struggles with simple recognition of loved ones.

In I’ll Be Me Campbell says, “I can jump as high, but I can’t stay up as long… I’ve laughed and I’ve cried. Laughing is more fun.” Upon receiving a “Life-time Achievement Award Glen quipped, “I ain’t done yet.”

I fell in love in the late 1960’s when Campbell’s “Galveston” was on the charts. There were other songs like “Wichita Lineman” I recall from that era when Glen often topped the Country and Pop Charts, but it was not all glory.

Flagging sales and drug and alcohol problems in the mid seventies still did not stop his career. “Rhinestone Cowboy” soared to the top, and by the mid 1980’s the born-again Campbell sang inspirational songs like “Amazing Grace”.

In “A Better Place”, 2012, a year after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Campbell sings,
I've tried and I have failed, Lord
I've won and I have lost
I've lived and I have loved, Lord
Sometimes at such a cost

With a sense of gratitude he sings:
One thing I know
The world's been good to me
A better place
Awaits you'll see

Then a line that reflects Glen’s struggle with Alzheimer’s:
Some days I'm so confused, Lord
My past gets in my way
I need the ones I love, Lord
More and more each day

The heroic tour I’ll Be Me was all about drawing attention to Alzheimer’s and getting funding to defeat this disease. An American statistic today says one in three seniors dies of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

When Campbell performed for Congress, Bill Clinton said, “This tour of his [Campbell’s] is saying, ‘Here I am. I’m going out with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.’” Meanwhile Glen’s wife Kim said, “God is with us everyday…on our journey.”

A Campbell admirer on internet says it best:
Thank you Glen, for your music and testimony of faith. Christians are not promised a life free of trials and suffering. After all, the Bible tells us that in this world we will have suffering. As Christians, our hope in Jesus Christ is the promise of a life lived in victory by faith despite our human sin and frailties. There is indeed a better place awaiting those who have trusted in Jesus. God bless you and your family. (Flay Mohle)

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