There are a couple of things that poverty teaches us. First, we learn from poverty what is truly essential in life. Second, we realize that it is in poverty that we can dispose ourselves to totally surrender to God and others. Third, we also learn from poverty to draw on resources in order to survive and thrive.
Poverty helps us see what is essential in life. Some of the happiest people whom I have met are poor. Some of the saddest people whom I know of are surprisingly rich. This only reinforces the truth that money can never buy us happiness. At most, it can offer us luxury and comfort.
We are fed with illusions that once we possess a car, own a luxurious condominium, acquire many credit cards, purchase the latest in computers and technology, among others, we will be truly happy. This however only succeeds in trapping us into consumerism and materialism. We end up becoming slaves to money.
This further fuels our greed as we become insatiable in our quest to possess more things to fill our lives. Happiness does not result from acquiring possessions and things. Rather it stems from people being present and available to each other, enjoying laughter and togetherness and the experience of loving and being loved. These are the things that the poor certainly can afford. What is essential is invisible to the eye!
Poverty in Pakistan
Poverty teaches us to resign and surrender. In an interview with Pope Francis on his way back to Rome, he was asked what impressed him the most about the Filipinos. The word that came to his mind was resignation. He was quick to qualify that the term is often thought of as negative and derogatory.
But to him, it was an exemplary quality. He saw in us perhaps the ability to trust and surrender to God for everything. This is akin to St.
Paul when he struggled with his own weaknesses and suffered from his own poverty of spirit. He ultimately had no one to turn to but God. It is also in poverty that we become genuinely predisposed and open to receive. I will allow God to take care of me so I will let go and I let God!
Early in my career, I taught in schools for privileged kids. I noticed that they never seem to appreciate whatever programs or services that we offered them. They think that they know everything already. When I moved to a poorer school, everything that I shared with them in contrast was received with much joy and graciousness. There I realized that when one is so full of themselves, they will never gain anything. It is only those who admit to ignorance that learning begins.
The Themes of Dostoyevsky
The symbolic gesture of the poor is an open hand. They are much like the Buddhist monks who go out each morning with an empty bowl. They are open to receive whatever will be given to them as their meal for the day. Everything is deemed as a blessing. Poverty draws out our inner resources in order to survive and thrive. When our family experienced bankruptcy during my adolescent years, we went through hardships. Little did I know then that it was actually a blessing in disguise.
On hindsight, I realized now that the experience of poverty drew out two important values in me. The first is to live simply.
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The second is to be creative. Prior to our loss, I was quite pampered. I could buy any toy that I liked. Perhaps without this experience, I would be acting like one entitled kid today who demands that I get everything that I want.
I must admit that a part of me still has that child who easily gets frustrated when he does not get what he wished for. With poverty however I have learned to detach myself from things. I still enjoy good food, nice clothes and material things. But I am not attached or beholden to them. The disposition I have is if there are blessings given to me, I will enjoy them. If there are none, I will manage to survive and be happy. At the same time, poverty taught me to find alternatives. As a child, whenever I envied my cousins for having new toys, I would brainstorm ways to buy one.
Looking back, I actually started the idea of ukay-ukay for toys. I would sell my old ones in order to buy new ones. When I no longer have toys left, I would copy pictures from coloring books, paint, cut and display them. Then I go to my cousins to inform them that I have a museum of cartoon characters. If they wanted to take a peep, they would have to pay me twenty-five centavos at that time a good sum first.
To this day, I have tapped my creative potentials each time I am tight with money. There is a tendency when we look at its blessings to romanticize poverty. It is good to be aware that poverty also has its ugly side. First, poverty can rob us of our dignity and worth and deprive us of many opportunities. Second, it can make us feel entitled to be taken care of and we end up becoming dependent on others.
Third, it can render us powerless and stuck. Poverty is un-dignifying. They are thus looked down upon and treated shabbily. They are deprived of education and employment. They are even judged as lazy and labelled as bums even before we really get to know them.
Essay about The Mother of Revolution and Crime Is Poverty | Major Tests
Try experimenting to enter a mall in shabby clothes. No security guard will greet you. He was assuming that they will do me harm. The poor therefore looks at themselves in the way that the society looks at them.