This is going to be short and only be the tip of the iceberg.
Friends, I just want to help more people understand something about poverty. Material poverty.
The cycle is not just poverty – someone comes alongside – long, deep process – finally get a step UP (a goat, a small business, a job, a tool so you can have a trade – YAY!
The cycle looks a lot like this (a glimpse – a GLIMPSE! I could make this SO much more detailed):
Poverty – someone comes alongside, or you take your own initiative – long, deep process and hard work and investment and dreams and hopes and standing up when falling – finally get a step UP – when someone asks how you’re doing a few weeks later, you respond you were robbed of that step up.
Poverty – someone comes alongside, or you take your own initiative – long, deep process and hard work and investment and dreams and hopes and standing up when falling – finally get a step UP – your family member gets sick, and everything goes to helping them. Every last drop. – (repeat the process….)….step UP again – a different family member needs help paying for a funeral, or school starting – (repeat the process……)
It is so much more. So much harder.
The resilience I see is ridiculous. The lack of motivation and apathy I sometimes run into, I can understand (after I get over being frustrated when someone doesn’t jump onto an opportunity). The optimism in some of my friend’s eyes humbles me, because my day is wrecked over changed plans and I still have a home and two big meals and financial security.
Hard working teenagers are robbed by peers that they know – peers that do not work hard, but are rewarded by quick theft and intimidation. These hard working teenagers, friends, are somehow always the ones encouraging ME. They teach ME how to love. They serve their community and neighbors way more than me.
My friends keep loving. Even after their own peers, community, sometimes family…may hurt their trust or use them or hurt them.
I process culture stress cycles and am fighting tooth and nail to break down walls of distrust and negativity,
and my friends, neighbors, and heroes….they are loving.
Getting back up again.
Still screaming out, “HE IS GOOD!”
“PRAISE THE LORD!”
Still looking me in the eye with that sparkle that shows up when there is positive affirmation or dreaming of the future around.
I am so prideful, I am so comfort-driven, I am so easily shaken, I am so lazy because life has ALLOWED me to be. And in this – I am so, so, so thankful that He would place me where I would learn and watch, over YEARS of this deep cycle, beautiful people teach me things that you would not be able to comprehend our sisters and brothers in humankind can do, withstand, fight through, and dare to dream in….because poverty is not simple, y’all.