Surviving Poverty in the us

One can only hope to survive their poverty. And one can count themselves lucky if they do. Many are unable to sustain their health and their hope long enough to make the long hard crawl back to where they once were.

Poverty is rationing out the few pieces of bread and learning not to feel the slices need be buttered. Poverty is waking up each morning and wondering which of your creditors will lose patience with you and take away what they have extended. Poverty is seeing the world through dark and depressed eyes and placing this veil of darkness over every thought, word and deed of the day.

Poverty, once lived through, never leaves the spirit of the individual who has become acquainted with it. Poverty is a chronic disorder and cannot be remedied with what once needs to survive because the experience of poverty reminds us of the society we have made. We who have experienced it are caught in a nightmare even after we have achieved some sense of safety.

For how can we ever rest or not suspect that we will be homeless again? It happened and we cannot forget that it did nor can we erase the memory of why we have poverty. We have poverty because it doesn’t occur to us that people are more important than money. We have built a society around earning and achievement and those who do not earn and achieve must be punished. I can forgive myself for many things but I cannot forgive myself for being part of a society that is so misguided.

Poverty is the judgement placed upon the foreheads of our most vulnerable citizens. This should not bring us pride or joy or satisfaction. We should not be so quick to brag about our buildings or our projects when our people suffer. But it seems we have evolved to a point where we no longer think or feel anything unless it makes a profit. And compassion never did make much profit.

As the world becomes more divided I realize that soon there will be a clear split between those who have and those who have not. I wonder if this could be used to an advantage? I wonder if the decisions were made by those who have had to find other things to dwell upon besides the accumulation of wealth whether they would be better decisions. If the poor had a voice would they forget others like themselves?

Probably not. Maybe they would make decisions which would develop our country in a more meaningful way than the almighty dollar develops us. Maybe they would pass some of their skills at budgeting on to those who govern and show them how to live with more substance and less flash. Maybe we would strike a new direction and be able to teach the next generation to pursue that which really matters.