SXSW Trip day one

So on a little bit of a whim, I find myself traveling to Austin, TX for the SXSW festival that continues tomorrow or last year depending on whenever you stumble upon this post. I’m terrible at remembering time frames of things; but sometime in the past, my friends The Vespers posted that they would be playing there, and I thought it’d be cool to be there when they did. Fast forward to however many months later I see a tweet saying they had shows scheduled Friday and Saturday of the week I am currently living in at the time of writing this. Again it could be 100 years ago by the time you read this. I don’t know what the future holds; you might not even have to read information any more. They may have invented a pill form of taking it on. Maybe the more difficult information comes in a larger pill, giving the same but a more literal meaning to “that’s a tough pill to swallow.”

That was a wild tangent I didn’t intend to go on. So back to the story. Once I saw the date, I thought “why not?” Well for one it’s a 7 hour drive and the last band to play at 11 pm would be the one I would go for. I talked myself out of going for about 5 minutes, and then I started coming up with scenarios that would make it work. After I made the final decision to come down, I started looking at the other bands that would be playing. If you’ve never heard of the bands I’m about to list off, I’d highly recommend you check them out. The Vespers, Leagues, Pearl & the Beard, Johnnyswim, The Lighthouse and the Whaler. Are you kidding me? Such good music, all in one place, all on the same day. Not only that, they play one right after the other. What luck is that? None of them playing at the same time.

If I had any doubts about coming before seeing that lineup, they were put to rest afterwards. Once I had it settled, I decided that I would drive halfway on the way down and then halfway on the way back. This would give me the opportunity to spread the 14 hours in the car out as much as possible. Lucky for me, Dallas is just about halfway between home and Austin. So I booked a room for both Friday and Saturday nights.

The plan? To work Friday and then drive to Dallas, then get up Saturday morning and get down there around noon. The first show I want to see is at 3, so this will give me plenty of time to get a feel for the layout. So I started today or 500 years ago depending when you read this. I gotta say, one of the worst things about living in Oklahoma is ODOT’s ineptitude when it comes to road construction. It took me nearly an hour and a half just to get out of Oklahoma City. Most of that was from one little stretch through Norman. I don’t know what genius thought it a good idea to work on I35 southbound during spring break, but I tip my cap to you. I must say though; after getting through that hot mess, the rest of trip was pretty much a piece of cake.

I got to my hotel around 8:30 and checked in. After taking my bag up to my room, I decided to go grab a bite to eat. I was finishing up my meal, when I saw this couple sitting in the next area over from me. I was perhaps drawn to them because the dude had a killer beard, but more likely because I was meant to be. When I first noticed them, they were sharing a piece of cheesecake. I thought it was very sweet. (Them sharing it; not the cake, I didn’t taste it.) I felt very strongly that I noticed them for a reason and that I was supposed to pay for their meal. Well I realized dessert meant that they were about to receive their check. I started looking for anyone that worked there to tell them what I wanted to do and do so anonymously. Wouldn’t you know it, all of the workers went on break at the exact same time. Then of course I started to doubt myself. “Lord are You sure?” “This place isn’t the fanciest, but it’s not cheap either plus they had dessert.” “Do I have enough ?” I asked all kinds of good questions.

No one was coming and then their waitress came by and put their check on the table. I thought I was certainly too late, thus confirming my doubt. My waiter finally came back to my table minutes too late, but I kept looking over at their table and they hadn’t paid. I hurriedly laid down some cash and knew what I had to do. I sheepishly walked over to their table and said these exact words, “Look, I don’t want to be weird or anything; but I feel like I’m supposed to bless you by paying your check.” The guy was like, you might want to wait before you offer something like that. I was thinking, “Oh God they probably had several drinks and the surf and turf in addition to that shared cheesecake.” But I know what I was being lead to do so I trusted. I said no sir, “The Lord wants me to bless you tonight.”

I don’t know much about that couple’s situation. They told me that they were taking advantage of their 4 kids being elsewhere tonight by driving 20 miles to have a date night. I’m not typing this out to pat myself on the back for doing something nice. I’m doing so to encourage others to step out and give a kind word to your brother or a stranger. That couple might be millionaires for all I know, but I do know that God wanted to bless them. I am thankful to be able to be the vessel tonight. This is another wild tangent I didn’t mean to get off on.

Anyway this is part one of the SXSW trip blog. Stay tuned for the continuation which will include thoughts on the experience and hopefully a few pictures.

How about you, ever do anything on a whim? Had a chance recently to bless someone?
Here’s my serious driving face.


2 Responses to “SXSW Trip day one”

  1. That’s awesome. I’ve had those times where I went to bless somebody and you feel like a weirdo, but you’re so glad you did it! You never know what seed was planted or where it may lead the person. You just trust the God who leads faithfully. Great stuff, Philip. Sounds like a fun trip.
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