Bringing some calm to a storm

I’m sure there are times (or days) in everyone’s life were you think to yourself, “Why is everything I’m trying to accomplish today going haywire?”

For me the moment that thought creeps into my mind is the moment that the real problems begin.

If I dare to allow that question to linger very long it will soon take on the appearance of a steel ball in a pinball machine as it bounces around from brain cell to brain cell looking to find an answer.

Naturally, it will not find an answer; it will find a myriad of reasons I could use to explain my “bad luck” day.


Now my mind is totally distracted from my “things to-do” list and is totally fixated on poor me instead.

Thank God I have learned over the years that there is a cure for self pity and it is, for me, as simple as turning on some music that I like.

There is an old, often misquoted, adage that people use, “Music has charms to soothe a savage beast.”

In actuality, the original quote comes from the play “The Mourning Bride,” by William Congreve, an English author of the late 17th and early 18th centuries and the line reads, “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast.” with a second line elaborating on the theme, “To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.”

I read it almost as a statement that music can affect everything, even nature itself and there are certainly biblical references of music affecting people and “things” all the way back to the beginning of recorded history.


I’m sure that someone will query, “How could AC/DC or Led Zeppelin sooth anybody.”

My answer to that is, I haven’t the slightest idea. I’m not in their shoes and that’s not my thing, but everyone has different tastes.

But, for me, whose taste runs more to bluegrass, country gospel and sometimes a little old-time “bubble gum” rock thrown in, music can have an almost immediate effect on my demeanor.

Let me tell you about a recent example that prompted me to write this piece.

I knew the day was going to be non-stop before it began and I, of course, thought I was totally prepared to take it on.

At 6:30, drop my bride off at the bus stop, 7 o’clock Rotary meeting, 8:15 interviews and photos, 10 o’clock back at the office, download photos and write story. Lunch, finish other stories for the week and that leaves Friday morning to finish up My Turn. Leave office around 4 in the afternoon for my drive to Quincy, grab a bite to eat, and go to the BSA District meeting at 6. Easy! Right?


Reality says no. Everything going well except interviews and photos take a little longer. After all, these folks are trying to do job on a time schedule, too.

Instead of office time at 10, it’s 11:15 and after 15 minutes, only 30 of 136 photos have downloaded.

No problem, I really should have known better, a quick trip home to download, sort and select a dozen or so best shots, put them on a flash drive and back to the office.

Oops, its almost 12:30 and I haven’t started writing yet. Forget lunch, I need to finish the stories I’ve already started, proof them and get them submitted ASAP.

Oh no! Not again!

Why can’t I send out any emails?

Even with office co-workers help, nope “taint happenin’ bub.”

A call to IT and we have a solution and I only lost about 40 minutes.

Well it’s 10 minutes to five, I’d better get home, change clothes and head to Quincy.


I sure hope I didn’t snap at anyone today because right now I am feeling truly stressed.

Scout uniform on, cut a slice of banana bread (lunch) and out the door at 5:07.

I’m sure I will be late so don’t get excited and drive like an idiot. Relax!

Stressed, slice of banana bread for lunch at 5, no time for dinner and I’m going to be late, I need some music.

The CD slides into the player and wham! Before I get to Almanor West I have forgotten about the turbulence of the day, the delays in my proposed schedule and my now slightly grumbling stomach.

I’m listening to the Liberty Quartet as they sing the lines, “I’ve got peace like a river,” “I’ve got joy, joy like a fountain,” as I think all the ways I’ve been blessed.

Suddenly all those seemingly frustrating times during the day pale in comparison to all the blessings I’ve experienced.


The love of a wonderful woman who knew how busy my day was and didn’t expect anything for her birthday, four great children, six grandchildren, fine friends and a great community to live in.

It’s good to be alive and all of a sudden I’m looking forward to our Boy Scout planning meeting (late or not) because it’s a blessing to help make a better future for young people and I want to share my joy and peace with anyone that will listen.

Tempest Over!