Have you ever heard (or said), “You know what your problem is? I’ll tell you…”
When a conversation (or monologue) starts like this, it’s not good news.
But, honestly, you have a problem. And I’m going to tell you what it is.
Or, rather, I’m going to let Andrew Osenga tell you what your problem is.
Andrew is a Nashville-based musician and he’s recently released a remarkable album: Leonard, the Lonely Astronaut. The record chronicles the emotional excursion of Leonard Belle, a man who lives 300 years in the future. Leonard, you see, was in the middle of a messy divorce when his wife died suddenly. Filled with regret, Leonard takes a job as a space trucker for a year and decides to work through his pain by writing a record in the cold, emptiness of space.
Sounds like a crazy idea for a record? Yes, and it’s even more crazy. Andrew created a Kickstarter project so he could build the set of a spaceship, get inside Leonard’s head (and space suit), and record the album on the set.
That’s what he did, and the result is one of the best albums I’ve heard in years.
Andrew sings and plays almost everything on the record by himself (since, after all, Leonard wouldn’t have had anyone to help him make the record). The musicianship is stellar and the songwriting heart-rending, true to the theme. On his journey through the depths of space, Leonard also journeys through the depths of his soul. He reflects on his childhood, his love and loss, his shortcomings, the bad choices that pushed his wife away.
Which leads me back to the point of this post: your problem.
In the song “We Never Said Goodbye,” Leonard achingly laments
I told you we’d never be apart
and I’d never break your heart
but it was mine I kept choosing
There’s your problem.
It’s yours and Leonard’s and mine: the selfish (sometimes destructive) choices we make for ourselves over the good of others. The accumulation of these choices is what led Leonard’s wife to leave him. Fill in the blanks for your own story.
Mercifully, that’s not how the story has to end.
In Leonard’s case, the album takes a redemptive turn at the end. Your story—my story—can also take that turn.
Whose heart will you choose?
Two last things:
Here’s a video from one of the Leonard songs, “Out of Time.” Gives you a sense for the whole spaceship thing.