Before you read this, please please listen to this song. Actively listen.
I have been on a SteelDrivers kick as of late. The first time I heard this song, it touched my heart and I have been trying to pinpoint exactly why it has such a lasting effect on me. I think I could analyze this song, line by line and word by word, and still not come up with one underlying message. But through my attempts at reading between the lines, I realize now why it has such a strong impact on me. It takes me back to a fairly recent time when death occurred in my family, when my mom’s dad passed away, my granddaddy. My granddaddy was sick for a while and we all witnessed his health deteriorate over time. The most difficult thing for me to see, however, was his life deteriorating, specifically seeing him in that hospital bed in that dark yet warm room.
My mind keeps playing a specific scene in my head like a broken record player. I wasn’t actually physically present for this scene, but I can feel it. It was in the same hospital room where my granddaddy, his wife, and two kids were there with him. He was in his final moments and I believe that once it was just them four, when no one else was present, God spoke with all four of them and said, “It’s OK, guys. It’s OK.”
To reference some of the lyrics, I think that was the one last thing my granddaddy had to do, the one more mile before he was through. In that room, there was finally assurance for my mom, uncle, and grandmama that he was going to a place where there’s no more pain. That was the last time he had to wade through muddy waters.
Looking back, I don’t think I coped with his death. I saw it and remember it, but I don’t think I tried to really understand it. This song makes me yearn to better understand God. This song helps me realize that death is actually overcome by what Christ did on the cross.
I am currently sitting at work, wiping tears off my face and desk, trying not to freak out everyone in the office. But I think I get it now. I apologize for writing about something that bears so much weight, but as a writer, an amateur wanna-be writer, I have been feeling the need to share with you that the saddest and most trying times we experience as human beings are still the works of God.
I’m an old man now I can’t do nothin’. Young folks don’t pay me no mind. But in my days, I sure was something. Before I felt the heavy hand of time.
I’m an old man now, bound for glory. Time to lay these burdens down. Had enough of this old world of worry. Gonna trade my troubles for the crown.
I will make my way across the fields of cotton. And wade through muddy waters one last time. And in my dreams I come out clean, when I reach the other side. West the weather sun sets, where rainbows never die.
I’ve got one last thing to do. One more mile before I’m through. Casting off these ugly chains. Go where there’s no more pain.
I’m an old man now I can’t do nothin’. Young folks don’t pay me no mind.