Behind the Story
by Robin Smith
(Claire, Musical Director, and Writer of Change)
Many of you know the story about how the writing of Change the Musical came about. My oldest sister Dawn Marie was killed 2 weeks before Christmas in a car accident in 1992. I was 11 years old, and it made it very difficult to enjoy Christmas after that. The holiday was always a happy time in my family, and now a large void was there. Dawn always put up the tree and was the big sister to all of us little ones (there’s 7 Smith kids. God bless my parents.) When I was 22, I remember praying a prayer. I asked the Lord to heal my broken heart and to let me love Christmas again. A few days later I was walking out of ShopRite and saw an elderly man ringing the Salvation Army Bell. He was falling asleep, and I thought, “He should start singing Christmas carols and get that kettle overflowing.” And my next thought was, “Why don’t you go do it?!” I said to myself, “No way!” Well, the thought wouldn’t go away, so I drove to the Salvation Army and asked them if they needed any bell ringers. The lady said, “Yes, this Saturday 8am at Walmart!” I committed and showed up. I didn’t even tell anyone. But I went that Saturday and sang Christmas carols all morning and that kettle was overflowing with cash by the end of the day. That wasn’t the miracle though; I was changed. My heart was healed. The joy of Christmas was back.
A few years later in 2008, I had the thought to write a Christmas show with my friends, and Change the Musical was birthed. Imagine that?! Since day one, we’ve had a blast writing and creating this show for you. We want you to enjoy, be inspired and learn to say, “It is well.”
In 1871, Horatio Spafford lost his son to scarlet fever. Two years later, he sent his wife and 4 daughters ahead on vacation where he planned to meet up with them. The ship tragecially sank, and only his wife survived. En route to join his wife, he passed over the place where the ship went down. He said to himself, “It is well; the will of God be done.” He later wrote his famous hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul,” based on those words.
These words “it is well” are a foundation on which I have built my life. My family has endured similiar hardship with the passing of my sister Dawn Marie in 1992, my brother Jason in 2015, and my brother Charles this past August of 2019. For my parents to endure such pain and loss and yet still love one another, love others and love God is remarkable. If they can move forward, so can I.
Something beautiful can always come out of our pain. In a sense, it was very difficult for us to carry on with Change the Musical this year. As I prayed, I knew that strength was going to come, and it did. We all have pain and hardship, but our God given talents and passions are used to give us purpose and drive us to move forward. The laughter and joy that this show brings is what we all need. The touching moments remind us of what Christmas is all about.
say, “It is well.”