Advice from Sir Walter Scott: It’s Time to Stop Pretending

Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding on

Last night I came into The Observatory (what we fondly call the great room of our addition) to find Aidan and Ethney watching Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, starring Ciarán Hinds. I have fond memories of the older boys watching this classic film years ago, but last night, it struck me as especially timely. I had been toying with two different ideas for this post, but neither felt right, nor did I have the spare creative time to develop them. Seeing Ivanhoe reminded me of one of the songs my eldest sons and I recorded in our friend’s basement a few years back. I’ve had the raw Garageband files sitting on my old MacBook Pro since then, but never took the time to select the best take and set some volumes, at the least.

I had intended to go back and lay down an acoustic guitar track (I hate hearing my guitar plugged in) as well as some percussion and a banjo and bass track, but life moves on. So here is a finalized mix of both Sebastian’s and my vocals along with our guitars along with Benjamin on the keyboard. Lyrically, the song fits the story of Ivanhoe or Desdichado – the disinherited, the unhappy, the unfortunate. But listening to the words again last night, I believe there’s a message for our times. Sure, it’s a love song (fitting for St. Valentine’s Day) from Ivanhoe to Rowena. But there’s more to it than that. As Johnny Enlow wrote in his book Becoming a Superhero:

“So David stood before Goliath clothed in the simplicity of who he was and what he was – no armor bearer, no shield, no sword, no helmet, no coat of mail – just David. Can you feel the freedom that comes with just being who you are? To desire to be anyone else other than who you are is to insult God’s original destiny He dreamed up for you. There will never be another you, and not even your fingerprint will ever be repeated. Don’t waste that uniqueness by attempting to be someone you’re not. If you want to slay giants, you must refuse to wear Saul’s armor. God’s maximum level of power is released through you and into your life as you operate at your own maximum level of true identity.”

Johnny Enlow, from Becoming a Superhero (p. 69-70)

Desdichado therefore is a call to embrace one’s true identity, to “shuffle off the masked defender” and be who you were uniquely created to be. We are “fortunate enough to live again within” His love. So be free to be you! Reject the empty life of pretending and others’ brands or stereotypes. It’s not about fame or likes or followers; it’s about His fame being magnified through you as you live out your divine destiny as His follower. “Desdichado, I won’t follow anymore.”

“Desdichado” from For Such a Time as This by Vincent H. Anastasi 2021


Vincent H. Anastasi – 2013

I came to embrace the way you saw my shadowed face
Stranger to myself and all that I meet.
Branded as a traitor, I slipped into a masquerade
Of mysteries and shrouded broken dreams.
Now my victories ring shallow
And this poison eats the marrow;
You can keep your fame and hollow coronet.

No more the pretender,
shuffle off the masked defender
I am what I am, I can be no more
Desdichado, I won’t follow anymore

From my love, I am estranged, forced to walk a troubled stage,
But I’d choose it rather than an empty life.
My loyalty holds fast though all my dreams may fail at last;
You’re the reason I embrace the bitter strife.
Now I’m fortunate enough
To live again within in your love;
Keep me close to your heart and don’t forget:

No more the pretender,
shuffle off the masked defender
I am what I am, I can be no more
Desdichado, I won’t follow anymore

Desdichado, I won’t follow anymore

2 thoughts on “Advice from Sir Walter Scott: It’s Time to Stop Pretending

    1. I didn’t even really consider the date on the song! That is hard to believe. Thanks for checking it out. Would love to catch an acoustic more Avett Brothers sound to this sometime.


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