Tag Archives: God

Unexpected

SO apparently, the creator of the Slinky® was incredible wealthy at a young age and then left his wife and 6 children for a cult.

Those of you that know me know that I’ve grown tired of zingers and one-liners due to their overuse, but, I must admit that this opener was undeniable.

This morning, on my walk home from work, I was very tired. I got to my street for the homestretch and I could feel the cotton sheets caressing my face in my subconscious. Just then, a white man walked up to me.

 “You look like you’re dressed for an interview!”, the man said, quite jovially.

“I’m actually on my way home from work.” I wasn’t trying to show that I really wanted to go because he’d went out of his way to come and talk to me.

His name is Bob Swaim, and I had no idea how big a deal he was until I Googled him a second ago.

Bob is about 5’10”, white haired, bushy eyebrowed dude who falls somewhere in between typical Central Pennsylvanian and Southern Gentleman, aesthetically. Bob disclosed to me that he was a bike collector (see link above) and was in town for PSU’s Ag Progress Days. After suggesting that I check that out, he asked me questions about my job and I told him I was a night auditor. 

“I bet you have all sorts of stories then, huh?” He let out a sincere chuckle. “I have a friend who’s a funeral director and he wrote a blog about it. It’s hilarious! He’s got a couple stories of his own.”

His friend’s name is Caleb Wilde and his blog is here, if you wanted to check it out. Looks interesting to me.

Bob went on talking to me and asking me questions and alluding to the fact that he thought I was a business student. As tired as I was, I found myself sort of warming up to this strange man. He’d engage me in something that seemed so alien but felt so right – a face to face conversation with a stranger.

We got to a point in the conversation where we were talking about where I’d come from, and he took particular interest in my background, asking me about my interest in communications media.

“So, is that like TV and radio stuff? I guess it’s everything, haha!”, Bob said.

“Actually I’m moreso interested in audio engineering. This hotel gig is more transitional.”, I replied.

The next part rocked me.

“That’s good. It’s better to struggle for a long time and then be successful. If you don’t struggle a while, you won’t have any foundation.”

My interest was piqued. Where did that come from?, I thought. I’ve been having a rough week and struggle was really weighing me down. This is why I love old people. No offense, Bob, I think you’re awesome.

“Say you were given a couple million dollars right now, Vince. It would probably ruin your life.” I was still listening. “That’s just like the guy who invented the Slinky. He was about 28 years old when he got rich off of that thing. He ended up leaving his wife and six kids for a cult. Crazy, right?” Indeed it was. 

“It’s really better to struggle all your life and THEN be successful. If you gain success too early, you won’t be grounded. It was nice meeting you, Vince! Have a good one.”

He walked away. Maybe he knew, maybe he didn’t, but he encouraged me so much this morning. It’s funny/sad that this man striking up a friendly conversation with me is odd. I’m really glad I opened up to it though. God truly used him, with tact and precision, simply to encourage me to continue to go through what I am going through. I’m amazed.

To quote my awesome roomate, Mike Swanson:

“You act surprised, but you shouldn’t be.”

I hear you, God.

Post-Angst Angst, Part II

I’ve been feeling this way for a while now.

I feel like I’m missing out on quite a few things. My personal life is spiraling and I don’t know what to do about it. When I say ‘personal life’ I mean the content of my character. Got a job. Attending church. People love me. God is good. But life is harder than it looks.

Have I been so drawn away from God that I’m not as excited about God as everyone else? Am I losing all semblance of sanctification in my life? It sure does feel like it.

But God is there. No, He’s here. And He sees me. Even in this angst. Even in my inconsistency. He sees me.

I was talking to a friend earlier this week and he encouraged me with the following statement:

“…you’re not crazy, you’re just going to a new level of faith.”

This impacts me deeply, still. Even in my angst. Even in my shortcomings.

“…no matter what it takes/i’ll make sure that you’ll find, you’ll find your way/I know how hard you been trying, little one…”  – Bilal, Little One

On Tuesday, I got together with a group of mid-twenties/early thirties from my church, as we do regularly, and our pastors were there. This weeks topic of discussion was the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The pastor highlighted a few pertinent things in this story. One thing was the fact that God is always in control, but doesn’t intervene in every situation. This enlivens Romans 8:28 in my heart.

Romans 8:28 NLT

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

God is not to blame for all the bad stuff that happens to me. A lot of that is my choices. But the verse doesn’t say that God causes every little thing to happen. It just says that He takes every little thing that happens and makes purpose out of it for the ones that love Him. Now, that’s incredible.

God sees me. God sees me and knows me. God wants to redeem every place I’ve been and every thing I’ve gone through. So sometimes, He allows me to be in angst…if that’s what it takes for me to invite Him in.

Remember teenage angst? Yea, me neither, but whatever happened in those years, God gave purpose to it in order to benefit you and me. Same goes for post-angst angst.

Good day, truly.

Back On Track

Ok, back on track now.

In early January of this year, I moved to State College, PA. I found two jobs; one serving at a Cracker Barrel and the other working as an assistant cook at a daycare. I’m currently living in the attic of a friend of a friends’ house for $300/month. I found a better job as a server in a 5 star restaurant. I plan on moving out of the attic in early May. God was really gracious to me as I stepped out and took the risks to get to where I am today and He still continues to be.

I have a love interest, but she wouldn’t want me to write about her just yet. Now you know though.

Free Beat…(ing) (myself)…..(up)

I made a beat today!

It was a Chaka Khan sample, A Night in Tunisia, one of my favorite songs all time. I made it on a demo of this music program called Fruity Loops Studio. I first used Fruity Loops when I was in high school in Chester, PA, maybe 9th or 10th grade. It was a bit perplexing at first (maybe the first 5 minutes) but, once I figured it out, I was like a runny nose with no tissue….disgusting!

(random side note: black people seem to always use negative terms to describe positive things in our slang and colloquialisms. That’s what makes that last line so funny. If you didn’t think it was funny then keep reading, it gets better……please?)

I think between the years of 2001 and 2005 I made something like 200 beats. I had found a new passion in music production, a space where all of the music floating in my head had SOME kind of outlet. It wasn’t enough to execute all I wanted to, though, so I started to get into instruments like piano…..well piano was it for a while. I picked up more stuff in college.

So the beat I made today is awesome. I really like it. I’d play it for you but I haven’t given WordPress.com any money yet. So instead, I will put it on my Facebook page and let you listen to it here. HA! Take that, WordPress! There are some other songs on there if you want to check them out, but the name of the beat I made is Forties [Instrumental].

Okay, sorry WordPress, I shouldn’t treat you that way, you’re very kind in letting me use your space. I apologize.

Where was I? Oh, yea music production. I’m talking about it today because it is something that I think I’m good at and I wonder what I could do in that field that would be fun, lucrative, career launching, I don’t know. Many of my musical friends like my material, but I’ve never sold any of my stuff. Very early in my artistic development, I had resolved that all of my music would be free because I wanted as many people to hear it as possible so that their lives could be changed, free of charge. I wonder if I said that out of fear that my material wouldn’t be “buy-worthy”. Probably so. I was a very existential, self-deprecating and depressed teenager, so it makes sense.

I still have some of those fears left over in my adult life. I really want to be a full-time artist. It is where I am comfortable. It is where I am good. It is where I believe I will be most effective. But of course, I could be wrong.

I don’t know why, but when I think of me going out and being an artist, I feel selfish. Maybe I’ve been conditioned by my theology to be more giving than anything and, consequently, anything resembling personal pleasure gives me pause. Yeah, I think that’s pretty true. I’m a recovering extremist, so be patient with me. To be honest I’m not always recovering. Sometimes, I’m all guns blazing when a situation really just calls for a handshake. Ask anyone I knew/have known since I was a teen.

BUT NOW….I’m at the point where I am….starting not to….care about………GAAHHHH I do care! I CARE ABOUT HOW I WILL COME OFF. I CARE ABOUT SEEMING SELFISH TO PEOPLE BY PURSUING MUSIC. I CARE ABOUT SEEMING SELFISH TO GOD…….whoa…..snaps.

I care about seeming selfish to God.

What does that say about how I view God and my faith (Christianity)? I must think, at least partially, that God doesn’t care about my happiness. Or if He does, He only wants me to be happy doing what He wants me to do. That feels true, but I think I may be looking at it the wrong way. It comes off controlling to me, but I know God isn’t a control freak, He wouldn’t have given us free will if that was the case.

This kind of makes it hard to pursue a career as an artist with a clear conscience. This simultaneously makes the dirt very appealing…..I gotta resist that though or the blog will be over.

Do me a favor would you? Check out my music. Tell me if it does anything for you. Even if it doesn’t, I’m just as happy to share it with you, free of charge.

for now.