Wisdom from the Woods – Life Lessons Learned from Being Around Truly Compassionate People
For better or worse, West Virginians look out for one another. When it’s done for upright reasons, it’s a prized Mountain State trait. However, when looking out for your neighbor involves peering into their life like a lurking peeping Tom through bended blinds; it’s hardly commendable. What’s more deplorable, is when it’s disguised as an act of country courtesy. Polish it with as much politeness as you like; it won’t take the tarnish off of the rusty barbs lobbed about with abandon. The Coolest Small Town in America turns downright frigid with idle chatter. It’s a cliché but true. What you say about others says everything about you. I find lots of people look out for others with their tongues, as opposed to their eyes or heart. I’ve heard bushels of banter by people purportedly concerned about this and that here. But something’s amiss, to me, when “Topix” becomes “The New York Times” of any town. I’d never heard of it until moving to West Virginia, in fact. Whether it’s a topic online, or anywhere, and the individual being discussed with concern is absent from the conversation, I instantly become skeptical. It’s like having an intervention and not inviting the person you’re hoping to help. My friends love me because of my mistakes, not in spite of them. When I mess up, they tell me, face-to-face, and then immediately begin helping me in every way possible. I’ve watched them unite on my behalf with no respective connection aside from being bound together by hearts that care for me. Every amazing moment in my life is because of my friends. Knowing I’ve chosen them wisely makes any bad decision bearable. I appreciate them looking out for me in true West Virginia fashion.
– Jim Shock, LBSPY 29 (March 25-April 8)