Wisdom From the Woods: Life Lessons Learned from Being around Dissimilar People
A song by R.E.M asserts everybody hurts. It’s true. Until death do we part body and spirit, hurt is our constant companion. The ache begins with a rude awakening at birth and persists throughout our lives. It’s our first waking experience and the last thing we bestow our loved ones when we die. I think we hurt others because we’re so injured ourselves. We sit in judgment; gavels raised ready to clobber people for being different. We’re adept at paying pain forward. We form opinions without knowing facts. We dissect every nuance, without understanding what’s inside. We’re all different. By definition, that makes us unusual. So who decides what abnormalities are normal? It’s all too confusing. Before you begin beating down your neighbor, take a whack at understanding yourself. You’ll find misplaced aggression from inner turmoil powering every punch. Finding fulfillment in the foibles of your fellowman is a sadistic pastime. I’m as guilty as anyone. I’ve judged a book or two by its cover, never realizing how truly interesting the pages unfolding inside might be. By tossing stories aside without knowing character or content, I’ve missed many opportunities to broaden my understanding of humanity. By design, there are limitless possibilities for the human experience in the universe, if you expand your mind. Although unclear, every meeting in life has meaning. There are lots of interesting reads around you in West Virginia. Every great story begins with a simple introduction. Be adventurous. Say hello to someone you never imagined talking to and see where it takes you.
– Jim Shock, LBSPY #25 (Jan 28-Feb 11)