Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Loving Life in Lynchburg

Lynchburg residents have taken this article viral. It's a former resident explaining why he's thankful he doesn't still live here. 
I LOVE the list someone else compiled to share the reasons why you might consider moving to Lynchburg. Check that out here.

Maybe as irony goes, this video is also going viral. Lynchburg residents in familiar settings. Sigh... 

To the naysayer, here is my response as to why we are better off without residents like you: 

1. The families who are being raised here are much better off without complaining transplants who would choose to stay here and make it miserable for everyone else. As a kid raised in the outlying areas surrounding Lynchburg, I witnessed "rednecks" and African Americans struggle with their identities and differences. I gained a better perspective and appreciation for culture, diversity and understanding who you are while embracing the differences around you. That comes with your environment, what you're exposed to, the people, places and happenings. We're sorry what you saw isn't what you got - or wanted. But we're really glad what we saw in you isn't what we're left with.
We welcome transplants all the time. Much of the "city" is accustomed to a flow of traffic that come and stay for a time. We embrace those who choose to take up residence in our hometown. We bid you farewell when you feel you've outgrown our town.

2.There's a certain novelty about "downtown" in the heart of any city. Lynchburg doesn't boast a great downtown. It's not. So knowing who we are and what we have - or don't have - to offer, is the first step to admitting there's a problem. (Or maybe the problem is all in how you perceive things.) I, too, was a former business owner on that sprawling nightmare called Wards Road. Ironically, when this business was sold to a new owner, she moved it to downtown Main Street. I admit I had my doubts and thought surely it was a foolish move. I stand corrected more than 7 years later as she has made a name for herself with a thriving, growing business in the heart of the city.
Downtown isn't great. We know this. We visit there for a few novelty shops and restaurants that are rising above to make it better than what most hoped or expected. We're thankful for them. It seems you are, too, at least the few shout outs you gave.

3. It's sad, isn't it? Small businesses trying to make it and, as you said, closing their doors before others even knew they existed. It's not so much the town. The scattered locations, the various "outskirts," seem to all contribute. After all, everything is a 20 minute drive. But wait! Everything is only a 20 minute drive! (Not to mention how much bigger the possibilities grow when you travel an hour in any direction.) Having worked with dozens of small businesses, trying to help them advertise and "make it," I witnessed firsthand that a lot of it just boils down to a business owner with a GREAT idea and not a lot of help in marketing. Ultimately we decide, the residents, who will be "the best of the best," and certainly who won't.

4. The bearded rednecks. Thank you, Duck Dynasty, for making "dirty" the new cool. I am certainly not one to celebrate it. The stand-out hippies. Surely they are attempting to send a message while not wanting to be noticed yet actually really seeking attention. Kids these days. These are the embarrassing ‪#‎tbt‬ pictures that will inevitably haunt them in a decade. I don't think this is solely in Lynchburg, though, at least not from the vast travels and cities and states I've explored. I dare say we aren't embracing it. Rather, those "Liberty vs. Lynchburg" kids are usually the ones witnessing to them.

5. I used to be a cheerleader in the field that is now "Hell-Mart." I can recall the dynamite blasts that were required to remove the rock that was hidden beneath the earth so they could clear the land for the first of the box stores. Somehow one wasn't enough, so they built them in the outskirts, too. Across town. They remodeled other box stores in other parts of town. You think traffic on Wards Road is bad - have you been down 221 or Timberlake?! Clearly there are SO MANY PEOPLE flocking to this area that we need MORE townhouses and apartments. Clearly. You'd think we'd stay away from that generic hell. And yet we don't. We flock to it for shopping, eating, regular errands. We muddle through the stop lights, traffic and poorly designed traffic patterns. Why? Because this is where we live, work, shop and eat. And after all, even one trip down Wards Road still doesn't compare to the ridiculous traffic elsewhere. We'll get to that next.

6. You want to know what I hate? Those left hand drivers who go 10 miles UNDER the speed limit. Stupid is as stupid does, right? I recall sitting in 3 hours of traffic to go 20 miles in Los Angeles. Trying to drive 6 people, 3 of them children, to the Bronx Zoo was like being one of those zoo animals displaced from its original habitat and transplanted to navigate some unknown territory, dodging cars, stopping and going, slamming on brakes, being cut off, flipped off, cussed at. All for the sake of saving a few minutes?! I'll keep my life and get there late, I guess. I can't even begin to tell you how dirty that place was. Let's not even talk about D.C. Downtown? Forget it! Oh yes, it's a wonderful city to walk around. I simply love all the quaint cafes, the Starbucks on every corner and the amazing cuisine. TRULY AMAZING DINING!! I love to visit there, for a day, then come home to my quiet cul de sac just on the outskirts of my generic town.

7. Lynchburg has some of those "born and raised" generations with blood running through their veins who forever will oppose anything from "Jerry Falwell." They have yet to realize he died almost 7 years ago. Certainly the path now being carved out by his son and his namesake is similar, and yet so very different. Have you heard that Liberty is trying to bring a Civic Center to campus and town? Can you just imagine the controversy, battle and debate?! Good thing you don't have to hear about it on the local news since you're no longer local.

8. It was an quincinera in El Paso, Texas. I will never forget the authentic, fresh, homemade Mexican food. I will probably never taste it again, unless I go back. My husband and I visit a locally owned Mexican restaurant at least one, maybe twice, a week. It's not the same as that which I enjoyed just miles from the Mexican border. I can't really expect it to be. But it's our little place. Lynchburg's, that is. And the crazy thing is- it's always PACKED! They have a number of them all over town, new ones popping up every time you turn around. Somehow this disappointing tex-mex is thriving in a town that embraces and supports this small business and thanks them for an albeit small taste of culture. For some in Lynchburg who will never travel to El Paso, this is the next best thing to "authentic."

9. Remember those rednecks I mentioned going to school with? They were waving their rebel flags. They were teenagers. They only knew what their families had taught them. They didn't yet have their own ideals. I'm thankful I saw hate, because it taught me to love. That "breath of fresh air" above the Mason-Dixon line is somehow smothering to me when you try to throw a multitude of cultures together and instead of getting acceptance, you get even more segregation. Oh yes, no one "judges;" they just turn the other way. I'd rather be friends.

10. I saw a few guys witnessing to a family in Wal-mart the other night. I felt certain this was probably their Evangelism assignment. And yet I stopped to pray as seeds were being planted, however contrived the situation might have been. Ironically, you are teaching Christian education to people all across the country for this Liberty vs. Lynchburg mentality, just as I am. We are colleagues. We don't have to share the same faith, religion, beliefs, and thank goodness, the same city. But I do pray we share the same God as Lord and Savior so that whatever differences of opinions, we can ultimately stand undivided as brothers and sisters in Christ.

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