Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 1-12-11

And the snow keeps washing the Tennessee landscape in a swirling blanket of white, with flakes easing to the earth like soft feathers after a pillow fight gone wrong…

And that’s how I started this day! How wonderful is that? Not the words, mind you, but this wave of winter weather that has us teetering on the edge between beauty and inconvenience. It’s so much fun to watch it stick, then day 3 when we can’t stay away from work anymore, we have to drive in it, adding to the white-knuckled tension of navigating icy blacktops and slushy secondary roads. My house is at the bottom of 2 hills, so in order to go anywhere, I literally have to go uphill in the snow both ways…

I always think its fascinating to hear people complain about the weather. We all do it. I have said ‘It’s really smart to have a concert in a parking lot facing the sun in Little Rock in 100-degree heat. (I was checked out by EMT’s afterward to make sure I didn’t, in fact have a heat stroke). This is different – it seems that for some it’s never good enough. Like a cat always being on the wrong side of the door, people will say ‘it’s too hot, I wish for winter or it’s too cold, I can’t wait for summer’. These people are the ones who can’t wait to get in the A/C in May as opposed to actually enjoying what is outside. Shame. God gave us seasons – 4 of them last time I checked – and they are all pretty amazing. Maybe that’s why I only like Los Angeles for a short period – they don’t have many seasons over there. I built a fire last night at the pit and stayed out for over an hour in 20- degree weather. It was so soothing, although I didn’t realize that my feet were a little cold until after I got back inside. Ah well. No permanent damage.

But enough about the weather. On to bigger things. Like life. Ever since time began, there have been moments of history that make us scratch our heads and say ‘What the hell is going on these days?’ My wonderful Grandmother was a Jehovah’s Witness, and we used to talk about the turmoil in life, and how it always seemed like bad stuff was going on. And it seemed there would be bad in different places, like when the Beltway shooter was sniping from the trunk of his car, then somewhere else in the country an unrelated act of violence would happen, leading us to think the sky is falling. It’s not falling, and NO disrespect to my Grandmother, because all she preached was love – but the violence that happens has been happening for a long time – it just so happens that now we have instant information and a 4G network to carry it on, so we are all in the know. But you know what? For all the bad that we hear about – there is more good, I promise.

Which leads me to my next point. Compassion. Understanding. Patience. Is that three points? I don’t know, I got a ‘C’ in Geometry. I was driving to a store yesterday, day, and watched a woman walk across the parking lot and into a shoe store. She was bundled from head to toe, but it was about 6:30 PM, and I could see her face. It was a tired face. A face of a woman that just worked 9 hours, and now has to squeeze in a little time before she gets home to the kids. I stopped, and as she walked in front of my car, thoughts were cascading in, thinking about her story, and that no matter how much I try to figure it out, I will never know her story. And she will never know mine. And the guy who cut you off in traffic – you don’t know his story. And everyone else we come in contact with – we don’t know what they are going through. Or maybe we do…

My bad days are just like yours. I look at my checking account and cringe, I look at my life and question things, I look at my physical appearance and want change. I have lost friends and family members, just like you, and just like everyone else. So why don’t we think of these things in the moment? That one moment where someone cuts you off in traffic by mistake because they are so overwhelmed by it at that they can’t think straight. I’ve been there. I’ve done the cutting off.

And granted, there are jackasses in the world. They will cut you off and cut your throat for no reason. I understand that. But those people who need a little boost should have a little patience from us. Because just like we don’t know their past, we surely don’t want to push things to a bad place in the future. Ever watched ‘Falling Down’? He was having a bad day then snapped. Hopefully we can all understand where the borders are. And again, this is just a humble suggestion – I know there are people with legitimate mental issues out there that need help as well. They need compassion, too. And more patience than most.

I could have saved you all five minutes of your life and just said ‘Hey – let’s think for a second before we act. How about we respond rather than react, and treat others with respect.’ There it is. The shortest journal entry ever. But oh no -I had to get all long-winded you.

And just as a side note – this lady did NOT cut me off, nor was I upset that I had to stop for a pedestrian. If you know me, you know my mind is always trying to dig a little deeper and figure things out. It was her face that struck me. I was thinking that all she wanted to do was a little shopping. Of course, I could be way off. She could have just come in from Vegas and not slept for 2 days. I know that feeling, too.

See you on the road. Soon. And wearing a new coat of many colors.

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