Usually I’ve answered the question, “What do you do for a living?” by saying, “By playing music,” which was usually met with an unbelieving, questioning look as if to say, “You’re serious?” But the longer I think about it, it’s not entirely true. Playing music was only a small part of what I do for a living, and I’m afraid, the part that sounds more believable.
The main part I’ve done for a living over the past 30 years, ever since I left my mother’s home in 1980, was even more outrageous and less believable that “play music.” What I’ve mostly done over the past 3 decades to sustain myself and my families, was to trust the Lord.
Often I’ve been trying to get away from that, and been looking for ways to be able to do just like everybody else: be comfortably relying on my own strengths and wit and fend for myself, as opposed to depending on some obscure, invisible Supreme Being we really know rather little about to be trusting Him with all our bills, our meals and a roof over our house.
Oddly enough, obscure and invisible or not, He has chosen to do so anyway, and has just been doing it (seeing to it that our bills were paid, moths fed, etc.), despite my own often less than appropriate skills and abilities to provide, and even the shocking fact that most of what I do in order to make it happen when I do, is play music.
It was outrageous enough, but infinitely less difficult back 30 years ago, in 1980, when I was young, optimistic and the world had not yet been drowned in the type of plastic entertainment that has managed to make them practically allergic to actual handcrafted music in the 21st century.
The doors were open wide, and it was easy to be optimistic that things were going to just keep getting better.
There were situations that looked desperate, yes; like the time our car broke down right on the main transit street through Barcelona, and we had to unhook the trailer, park in a tiny little side niche on the side of the road which became our home for the next few days. Me and my American partner Phillip took our guitars to the streets and did what we could to little avail, except for the pity of some merciful old lady that would occasionally toss a tiny coin in our guitar case. But at one point, some guy came up to us, interrupted us in the middle of a song, and after a few minutes we found ourselves booked for a whole week in an exclusive club called “Incontro.” A week later, our car was fixed and we rolled on southward.
A year later I found myself having to fend for myself in Vina del Mar, Chile, a place where the familiar luxuries of Europe were frighteningly absent, but even there God did what I couldn’t and supplied abundantly for all the needs I ever had.
Years later I found myself with a family, kids to feed and bills to pay, and God kept doing it.
Lately I’ve found myself having to fend for myself again, and it’s 3 decades later and the world has changed into a state that sometimes makes me wonder, “Alas, is the Almighty still going to manage and keep doing IT?”
Well, as of the news I got from Him this morning, He obviously intends to do so. Good news for me, since I’m just about as clueless about the business world and the art of making money as I’ve ever been – and that in the middle of the world in which just about everyone else does that and absolutely nothing – or at least not much – else.
The good part about it being that God, over the years, has become a little less obscure and unknown to me, even though I admit, it’s still sometimes a little hard to see Him in all the hubbub and confusion all around me, and every now and then it does cost me a little effort to trust that He’s really serious or in His right mind about it all – or whether I am, until He assures me, as usual, that everything’s going to be alright.
In fact, He’s not crazy at all, nor does He want me to believe that I am, but actually encourages me to let others know that He wants to take care of them and their needs, too, as unbelievable as that may sound.
When it all comes down to it, He already provides all we need in the first place: every breath of oxygen we breathe, every swig of water we drink, along with all the raw material for our food, nourishment and fuel to keep our vehicles moving and out houses warm and lit.
It’s just that instead of granting Him the credit for it, we prefer to ascribe all that benevolence to an even more obscure and questionable deity, namely coincidence or chance, that brought about all that opulence simply by itself. Man, are we one lucky species to be alive!
So, what do I do for a living? Well, mainly, I trust the Lord. I’ve done it yesterday and 30 years ago, am doing it today, and will keep on doing it tomorrow and for as long as I live. I can do no other. I simply haven’t learned anything else.