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I was in the Capitol the other day, visiting our local legislators. Didn't need a thing from them -- I was just checking in and making sure that they were getting settled in. Had a great visit and think we are in good hands in Jefferson City with the new guys.

While there, I ran into a friend of mine who commented on my columns. He's on my distribution list and thanked me for my stance on issues. He said that he knew it took time to write them, and I told him that it wasn't really that long. He said I know that you mull it over in your head a long time before writing.

He was right about that. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to share with my readers and then a seed is planted in my mind. Once that happens, it's usually pretty easy to put into words what has been laid on my heart.

This week is no different. I was giving my old boots a quick shine and there I found my inspiration -- in an old pair of boots that had seen much better days. But, a little polish and a couple of minutes of elbow grease and they were presentable to wear out of the house.

I don't spend a lot of money on shoes or boots. I have discovered that expensive shoes or boots don't last a lot longer than cheaper ones and, most times, you can't tell them apart. But, I can replace several pairs of cheaper ones for the price of a pair of the "designer" brand. And, since I'm hard on shoes and boots, in the long run, I figure I'm saving money.

I'm also cheap (budget conscious), so I try to make everything I buy last a long time. So, with regards to shoes and boots, I wear them hard but then slap a layer of polish on them and shine them up so the casual observer wouldn't know they were pretty worn and maybe beyond worn out sometimes.

But, and here is my point in all of this rambling, no amount of polish can mask the problems that might lie underneath that layer of "shine." I can make old boots look good, but the sole might be coming apart, letting water in to soak my feet, or the insoles might be so worn that my feet hurt -- causing physical problems.

How many times in life do we try to put polish on problems and never address the root issues? All of you have heard the old saying, "You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig." That's what many of us (okay, probably all of us) do from time-to-time in life. We develop this persona and wear a "mask" to hide the problems we have.

We might fool those around us and we might fool ourselves for some amount of time. But, eventually, we have to address the things in life that demand our attention. I am a procrastinator by nature but, eventually, we all have to stand up and be counted.

In our spiritual life, that means we have to come to grips with our relationship with God; and, in our personal lives, that means addressing the obstacles that keep us from living life to its fullest. And, sometimes, that means giving ourselves a swift kick in the backside to get moving.

What we face is different for each of us, and I sure don't mean to preach to you (okay, I guess I do), but life is too fleeting to shortchange yourself. Shine up the old "boots," but don't just polish over the problems that might be lying underneath -- address them head-on.

What I just said about us as individuals is absolutely applicable to us as a nation. We have allowed "pettiness and politics" to get in the way of addressing the problems that plague us as a country.

Everyone is so concerned about "winning" that we have forgotten how to be gracious winners and good losers. Maybe part of the problem is that we have raised an entire generation that believes everyone "wins" and that getting a "participation" trophy means no one loses.

To truly know what it means to win, you need to experience losing and understand that life is not fair. But, winning does not mean decimating the losing side. And that is something we need to relearn in this country.

We have become very accomplished at "polishing" bad policies up in this country and selling them to the populace as something "new and improved," when in reality it is pretty ugly underneath. Just remember "putting lipstick on a pig doesn't change the fact that it is a pig."

Kevin Wilson is a former state representative who was born in Goodman and now lives in Neosho. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 02/07/2019

Print Headline: Shining Old Boots

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