Note from Executive Producer, Lori Morris:
These words, obtained from The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr, were first shared with me by my grandfather when I was very young.
I have always felt that they were incredibly far-reaching and written with an inspiration to help those who have directly or indirectly experienced loneliness, depression, food disorders, mental illness, physical illness, spiritual deprivation, financial difficulty, discrimination, oppression, addiction, and all forms of abuse.
As a Divinity graduate student at the University of Northwestern, I learned that Reinhold was a Professor of Divinity at Yale University and the words he so brilliantly crafted were not by chance. It is in great honor of his spiritual wisdom that together, we bring you The Serenity Prayer Song. I give a special thank you to Billy McLaughlin, Nate Sabin, and Paul Peterson for bringing Niebuhr’s words to a soothing melodic harmony.
Some people remember through poetry, some through visuals, and some through song. Our hope is that Niebuhr’s words reach your soul through the manner in which they will most deeply resonate within you and bring you comfort and peace.
May God’s Face Shine Upon You, Today, Tomorrow, and Always,
Note from Composer:
When you hear from a friend after a long gap it’s always so great to hear their voice. So it was when Lori Morris called me recently during what was a brutally long MN winter. She explained that she was excited to be moving back into her home which had burned down months ago after we last talked. “The two things that got me through those hard months of living with my two kids in a hotel were your music Billy and my favorite prayer…..the one that starts ‘God grant me the serenity to accept’ and I have an idea about how to celebrate our survival of this ordeal.”
I said, “Take your kids to San Diego for a week and get out of this cold and snow.”
‘No, we just want to get re-settled and finally be home. I want to put the two things that helped me the most together and fulfill a dream I have had since I was little. I want you, Billy, to write a song for the prayer and produce the recording . Instead of spending money on a trip I want more people in the world who are going through tough times within or outside the recovery community to feel the power of those words!”
My immediate response was, “Lori, that’s not what I do as a musician. It’s not really what I’m good at. Songwriting takes a very long time for me and I might not come up with anything to make words that weren’t written in typical song rhythm to flow. Plus those words are so important to so many people that it’s too intimidating so I have to say no even though I’m honored you asked.”
“Well Billy I know you can do this and you don’t have to decide right away. Please think about it and I’ll call you in a week. Talk to you then!”
The next morning I followed my usual routine of starting the coffee pot and doing the dishes so the coffee would finish brewing just as the last dish is put away. I was my usual half-awake self as I dug into the dishes and I just started singing a little melody that was running through my head during the night. As I was putting the last dish away and filling my coffee cup I realized that the words to the prayer fit the melody perfectly with just a repeated portion of the last phrase. The song had come to me in my dream and I was already singing it by my first cup of coffee!!! I couldn’t believe it!!!
I called Lori and sang it to her over the phone. The project I said no to is here for you now because she made it possible by skipping vacation, convincing a reluctant composer to reconsider, and allowing me to pull together ( with the invaluable assistance of arranger and co-producer Nate Sabin) a world-class group of talented musicians who captured the passion and power of the Serenity Prayer.
If this song resonates with you and the people you choose to share it with, like me we can all be grateful for how Lori chose to celebrate the most awful situation by making a gift of music to share a powerful message of healing with the world.