I sat in the Eat Here And Die Coffee Shop in Medicine Bow, Wyoming, one time and overheard this conversation between two locals.
“Say, Wade,” a big guy said, “You know that new feller, Bob Lee? He bought the old Lingrave place.”
“Yep,” a gray-haired fellow with paint-stained overalls and work boots replied.
“He sure can’t make a go of it out there. So, I was wonderin’. . .do you know what that old boy does for a livin’?”
“Ain’t you ever asked him?”
“Nope. I ain’t one to go feedin’ off my own range.”
To feed off his range is to meddle in another’s personal affairs. According to the code of the west, no one questions a stranger. If he’s riding through for the aimless pleasure of wandering around to see the country, that’s his business. If he moves to the area to escape a difficult situation, it’s still his private concern. No one should try to pry it out of him.
But refusing to be a gossip or busybody gets tricky. One way is to ignore others completely—don’t talk to them, try to get to know them, spend any kind of time with them. But how do you show you care, that you’re concerned with their struggles, that you’re willing to lend a helping hand when needed? For the spiritually inclined person, how do you let them know you believe in the power of prayer?
It’s a fine art that takes tact.
There’s lots of miles between prying and praying. There’s a knack in reaching out without invasion of privacy. A true commitment to pray avoids spreading tales.
What’s one way you can prevent feeding off someone else’s range?