We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. – Mother Teresa
We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination. – Nelson Mandela
This week, we asked our circle to discuss the issue of poverty. I want the writers to speak for themselves. In the stories below, you’ll hear three writer’s experience with poverty and how they few its opposite: abundance, love, and rebuilding from trusting one’s self.
A moment in time
when things were
once care for, waked for who I was.
full of happiness
turned in a blink
of an eye.
Poverty, grief-stricken, a lasting
to the inner core
Unwaked, unloved, hated,
I never thought
Now to rebuild
a new me, a
to learn to be me again.
As A Youngster
I never realized it.
My parents never let on.
We always took a short vacation–just a few days,
every summer, somewhere in New England,
the beautiful white mountains,
the Old Man in the Mountain,
go-cart-rides, games in arcades.
Some summers we went to Old Orchard Beach.
I think it made me feel rich
with the beauty I experienced
from a young child.
The icy cold Maine Beach,
even with the hot sun, my feet tingled, frosty toes.
At night, where ever we were,
we went to a sit down restaurant.
Mom and Dad always checked the prices
listed on the menu in the front window.
Later, we walked and walked up and down
at the boardwalk in and out of souvenir shops.
We always picked an activity or one thing
what struck our fancy.
Mini-golf, art we made with paint that spun
around and around.
It was my brother and me
so any rides, we went on together.
One time I fancied a little wooden jewelry
box. Made of cedar, it smelled so good.
On the top, it said, “For my Sweetheart.”
My dad had my name engraved.
It surpassed me when I took it out,
back at our little tiny cabin.
Poor, no I can’t say that’s a memory at
my young age.
My dad worked six days
from early morning until 7 pm.
My mom was frugal.
She knew how to cook the
best peasant dishes,
inexpensive but filling
and always with crusty Italian Bread.
I did realize as I grew up
that we were considered “the poverty level.”
I never realized it then.
My parents never let on.
I guess my life felt rich.
This is the story of my life. I invite you to come and take a look in my eyes. The secret is that I’ve been waiting for you. Lonely, what do I feel like I’m the only one running from someone who can’t seem to get away. It’s this past. It leaves me trapped now. Hiding from the world. Afraid to fly because what if I spread my wings and I fall? Can cheap plastic and string support me or, better yet, your imagination? I can fly then. Far away from where I am, where I’ve been. I’ve lived a life of next to nothing, of struggle, and hardships. I recognize the face of hunger because I know it. Hunger for food. Hunger for love. For change. I wanted more. I wanted the pain to go away. To have a present father. A coherent mother. No. The alcohol and drugs took up most of the grocery cart. And our bellies stayed empty. I almost drowned in the poverty of my life but my cheap plastic wings, they float. And with them, I survived. I found my own way. ANd this is where the story changes, because some people can be saved. My mother once adrift came in with the tide. Guilty and brown though she was there, all the pieces…Money. It means nothing to me. It’s a sick force of greed. Feeding a mechanism built for control. Anyway. We don’t need it. That’s something that won’t change though, unless the world ends. Then who needs monetary wealth.
My life is rich. It is full of happiness. In the beats of my nephew’s heart. Life. It is the most valuable thing you will ever have and the thing we all take for granted the most. We are gifted with this light behind our eyes. This unexplainable force. That is power. That is status.
Love, I always say it. It’s all we need. You can explain how you feel when you are afraid, or hopeful, what happiness feels like. But when you look into the eyes of someone who you love with your entire being. Your heart and your soul. ANd they look back and you can feel that love. It is infinite, beyond measure. It creates an existence, it is life, shared. It is worth more than anything you could ever buy. Feel it and you’ll know.