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Vanity

I have lost just about everything,
Offered up to my selfish pride.
Two wives who wonderfully loved me
And I kept looking to the other side.
I’ve barely held on to the love of my children.
And I spent a lot of years trying to make it right.
But I can’t get back the times I could have been there
The life I could have made better, and that’s not just hindsight.

All is vanity, and it took all my joy.
Rearranged all my choices into selfish decisions that destroy.
Vanity took away all my love.
Took away all the good that I might have done.

I have hurt just about everyone,
Sometimes unknowing, but often just plain conceit
Broken heart, broken emotions, just breaking things.
Unfeeling. And indiscreet.

All is vanity, and it took all my joy.
Rearranged all my choices into selfish decisions that destroy.
Vanity took away all my love.
Took away all the good that I might have done.

And after years, wasted years, a voice comes into my sleep and wakes me up.
God’s in His heaven with all of my life in front of Him
And He shakes His head and says, “That’s enough.”
All of my selfishness, hurting and breaking becomes a stake driven through my soul.
Twist of wit, and irony — God shakes His head again
And let's me fall in love with someone I can never even know
Twist of wit, and irony—God shakes His head
And lets me really really really fall in love with someone
I can never have.

It was all about me

Embers One is my journal this year. Journals are meant to be personal, and this song takes it about as deep as I can go. Maybe someone will hear and connect, and that would be awesome. But this is me confessing, regretting, and looking back.

I cheated (and was addicted to behaviors that lead to cheating) and messed up two really beautiful marriages. I tore apart relationships and ran recklessly over people’s lives in my selfishness. It was all vanity and pride. I wanted what I wanted, so I manipulated and used people to get there. Don’t do this. It doesn’t make you powerful, it simply makes you controlling.

Breaking. Breaking. Breaking. That is all I did, and all I was capable of doing — because when you chase your own selfishness you are incapable of fixing or healing. You can only break things. I shattered everything and everyone. I thought (more accurately lied to myself) it was about looking for love, trying to find someone to give me that ultimate “feeling”.

Actually, though, what I was doing was running from love. I had people that loved me. But when they did I ran away, or ran to another. I desperately wanted to be “in love” — but my selfishness kept me from ever being “in” love. [The setoff quotations are really important as you read that.]

OK, so this song doesn’t have a happy ending. The whole story does, but not this chapter. You can interpret the last part of it however you want, but it’s not good. And I told you it was really personal!

——--

The bass on here is a cool little Kala U-Bass, a bass ukulele. It’s noisy but fun, and almost sounds like an upright. I have always wanted to play upright bass if for no other reason than to lend some authenticity to calling other musicians, “cats.”

I’ve got a slide going on in here too. I’m not sure if I was trying to sound like Dylan, a jazz ensemble, or a cowboy. Whenever I feel very inward I always pick up my nylon-string, and you can hear it throughout. It was my first guitar and it always seems to be holding all those years of me inside itself.

Next song, there will be a happy ending...