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Sat, Aug 23, 2014 03:29 AM
Issue of August 20, 2014

A hope note
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A hope note
Dr. Wayne Willis reflects on life and hope.

Popple's song

September 19, 2012 | 10:57 AM

Do you ever get a song stuck in your head that you can't get out?

For my birthday, one of our sons produced a video of family pictures. He put a song on the soundtrack that I had never heard but now I can't expunge.

The song was written and performed by a Louisville musician named Tim Krekel, who once played guitar for Jimmy Buffet. He also wrote chart-topping hits for Martina McBride, Patty Loveless and Crystal Gayle. Krekel died young, two years ago, of cancer. In an album, released posthumously just this summer, titled "Sings Up the Sun" is his song I can't forget: "I'm Walking in a State of Grace."

The music, with guitar and harmonica, is slow and soft, vocalized with strong feeling. The refrain is, "I'm walking in a state of grace. Father's got my hand, and I'm singing in the band. I'm just walking in a state of grace."

Krekel was a folk, not a religious, songwriter and singer, but the song is deeply spiritual. What he calls "state of grace" is what philosophers, psychologists and theologians have called the "oceanic" experience.

"Oceanic" refers to those all-too-rare times we feel "at one" with the universe, organically and intimately connected to everything. The experience is like being bathed in and buoyed up, gently and kindly held by warm ocean water.

Krekel refers to his roots ("Father's got my hand") and his circle of friends ("I'm singing in the band") to define his warm "state of grace" connectedness.

One of my sweetest memories of this birthday is that my 4-year-old granddaughter, who listened to the song several times as her daddy was making the video, now refers to it as "Popple's Song."

Popple hopes you occasionally find yourself in that warm, oceanic, better-felt-than-told state of grace.

Dr. Wayne Willis


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