"Two Steps From Disaster"

Full lyrics and listening links below (scroll down for story behind song). Buy cd and note cards of lyrics from "Store".

I heard that storm was a mile away
so I lingered long over one last call
Took one strike to fell that old tree
If I’d’ve been at home, it would‘ve felled me

Just a wink
or a stare
or a drink
and a dare:
one step
maybe two steps
from disaster

Saw him comin’ half a mile away
with his slicked back hair that said devil may care
His missing ring revealed a mal intent
but when he flashed that smile—down I went (Chorus)

Obey the rules like your Mama said
You oughta know
You reap what you sow
Just don’t think you’re better than the man on the street
‘cause one bad turn’ll sweep you off your feet (Chorus)

Who doesn’t love to stand in the grocery store aisle and be entertained by others' misfortune and mistakes? The higher the fame achieved, the longer and more spectacular the fall. “Two Steps from Disaster” was inspired by nonstop stories about government officials (and even someone I knew personally) that were hitting the news several years ago. I was talking on the phone with a friend about it (as well as disappointments she had had in her life), and I said: “We’re all only two steps from disaster.” I said to her then. Ok. Time to write a song about it.

About 10 years ago I spent several years singing with a gospel choir at a homeless center. One of the many things I learned from that experience is that there’s a very thin line between success and failure, fame and public humiliation. We are human; we all make mistakes. Some of us have good fortune and/or the resources to learn from those mistakes and move on, but others don’t.

We often judge other people based on how they look (race, religion, gender, class) or mistakes we presume they have made when, in fact, we don’t know anything about their specific circumstances. Life is capricious. None of us control where we were born, our family circumstances, our genetics, or even most of the life events that happen to us. We like to think we control our destinies (maybe that’s why we judge others so harshly at times—to buttress that belief), but in truth we control very little. Tragedy can strike anyone—and that person may be partly to blame or not. Either way I think it behooves us all to extend a little more grace to each other. Yes, “you reap what you sow”—just don’t automatically assume you are better because you got a better harvest...this time.