– – You don’t know what you’ve got ’til – –

Jack’s Wednesday guest blog post –

I consider myself lucky for having had a comfortable and relatively untroubled life. A happy childhood unmarred by any obvious parental disputes, although I’m sure there were some. An adolescence troubled by the usual small matters of growing into oneself and not getting anyone pregnant, but nothing more.

Wendy’s latest book ‘Fall or Fly’ is about fostering and adoption in Appalachia and got me to thinking about the contrast between my life, growing up, and the stories she unearthed during her many interviews that informed the final draft. As usual I was her initial ‘reviewer’ and I have to admit I was by turns shocked and inspired.

There’s a real problem around here with prescription drugs and that’s mainly down to one company that makes a painkiller they swore wasn’t habit-forming but is now proven so. It is also widely available both above and below the counter. Big profits for them of course – – –

I never had any exposure to drugs growing up and never had any interest in them. Once I tried marijuana but it had no effect whatsoever. I even listened carefully to the lyrics of ‘Mellow Yellow’ and like many others tried everything with bananas—which I loathed then and loath now–to no effect!

So, I think of myself as one of these balls that drops down through a game machine and just keeps going in the right direction, although I’ve little doubt there’s always the equal chance it can go the other way (I once studied probability factors).

I’m telling you this on behalf of the young people we come across who haven’t been as lucky as me or maybe even you. One of them is close to breaking my heart right now, and I don’t know if I can do anything for the child.

So, what can I say? This lovely young person, so intelligent, so competent, so lost. What to do, how to help, where the line between enabling and assistance?

Who to blame for taking away what never got used? The drug companies, the high school seller, the “friend” at the party who said, “C’mon, just try it?”

What to say, what to do? With other friends, we make sure the Temporarily Misplaced Youth has enough to eat, and eventually the wherewithal to see through the fog to the Light. And we pray, and we wait and, perhaps, sometimes, we weep.

Advertisements

10 Comments

Filed under Big Stone Gap, blue funks, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

10 responses to “– – You don’t know what you’ve got ’til – –

  1. chris desmottes

    when does the book go on sale – i want a copy!

  2. Paula Welch

    Sometimes the greatest test of faith is just being strong enough to endure while awaiting God’s plan to unfold. It must be very frustrating for you.
    My prayers are with you and this young person.

  3. josh

    they have to hit bottom and want to change before anything you can do will be more than a band aid, it is the sad truth with things of that nature. I watched a friend that was my brother fall down that hole.

  4. anne64

    You are doing what you can and that’s a lot. Just keep letting her know that you are there for her.

  5. I’m very grateful for these comments, but I can assure you that it’s both heartbreaking and frustratingly common these days!

  6. Thank you for reminding us that those of us who have “food and shelter security” might not be that far removed from those who don’t. Compassion is a higher response than condemnation.

  7. Oh, my heart aches for you and the lost child. I know the pain. No answers here but sending warm, caring thoughts (for all that’s worth).

  8. Elizabeth

    Oh yes, we do all this. . . I will definitely be reading Wendy’s book. We have the same problems in many of Iowa’s small rural communities! Loss of jobs, people, and hope. . . . Am almost done reading Hillbilly Elegy. It breaks my heart on so many levels, yet my eyes have really been opened about the complex dynamics involved in the challenges this culture faces.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s