May 05, 2017 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
In 1961 Patsy Cline recorded and released a song called, "Crazy," one of the most iconic country songs of all time. The writer of that song was a twenty-eight year old singer-songwriter who was relatively unknown at the time. His name was Willie Nelson, and the popularity of "Crazy" turned out to be just the beginning of a legendary musical career.
Now, fifty-six years later, at the age of eighty-four, Willie is still writing and recording music. This past week he released a new album entitled, “God’s Problem Child,” his first album of all original material in several years. Aging has sharpened his focus, and so on this album he writes about this issues everyone faces as they grow older —mortality, forgiveness, vulnerability, and spirituality.
Let’s not take my word on all of this, let’s take Willie’s instead. In one of the more moving songs on this album,“I Made a Mistake,” he writes about needing forgiveness:
One of the hardest parts of growing older is the inevitable loss of loved ones and close friends. Willie’s dear friend and fellow country outlaw singer Merle Haggard died last year and Willie writes of his grief with words that any of us who have lost a dear friend can relate to:
(There is a beautiful video of Willie singing this song, you can find it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=312SDrHM37Y
All of the themes of this album are summed up in the title track, “God's Problem Child,”
As you can see, this is a serious album. If you know Willie, though, you know he likes to have fun, and so this record contains some wonderful moments of humor, too. For example, in the song, “Still Not Dead” he addresses the numerous internet rumors that have circulated in recent years supposedly reporting his death:
You and I may not be famous singer-songwriters, but for all of us, aging well will mean at some point being able to address the themes of mortality, forgiveness, vulnerability, and spirituality in our lives. I am grateful for Willie Nelson for giving us an example of how it can be done, albeit with a touch of humor and grace mixed in for good measure.
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