Warning, this may make you think and may even make you disagree with me. If you don’t want to think, or you don’t want to disagree with me because you want to keep your image of me as perfect and peaceful, then by all means DO NOT READ THIS!
I still find it fascinating how many times things happen that tie into what I was thinking or researching.
I’m not really sure what inspired me to put poverty into my Reader Search for interesting blogs. I found a blog, which was not set up like any other blogs I have read and was not easy to comment, but I did.
You see, in the article the writer suggested that rather than having a Starbucks cup of coffee, we should save the money and feed the world. Then he went on to say we could not save the world because there would always be someone else who needed help. We need to live our lives as well has help others. A very valid point.
I thought it was interesting and commented that I was glad he didn’t suggest giving up Starbucks altogether because, though I never leave my house for coffee, the employees of Starbucks would go hungry without the job.
Then he commented back something along the lines that he hoped my comment reflected helping the coffee farmers and not the baristas because the poor in the United States are 10 – 30% wealthier than anywhere else. Hmm, well I think the baristas should still appreciate their pay checks!
Then today, I read https://talktherapies.wordpress.com/blog/ and a line jumped out at me. “If you’re telling yourself that you are hard done by – look around – see what other people have to deal with.” (I love this relates to yesterday’s comment)
I think this is great in the way it is presented in the post. We should all remember we could have it a lot worse. My pitiful complaints that I don’t have lobster every day is ridiculous compared to the people who don’t have food in their cupboards. My distress over the expense of having to repair my water system is pitiful compared to those who don’t have safe drinking water. I have to clean my windows, at least I have windows. Perspective is wonderful
But the idea that the poor and hungry people in the United States should be happy that they are 10 to 30% wealthier than those in other (war torn or impoverished) countries really annoyed me. I can’t look into the eyes of a hungry child and say, hey at least nobody is threatening your life or pulling your family apart. I don’t think that would be helpful.
Instead, I would do everything I could to feed that child.
SO today, when I was met someone who was looking for a job and trying to just get by because his rent is $300 more than his family income per month, I was reminded of perspective. Sorry, I don’t know how comparing him to other poor in other countries would help.
Then he amazed me by doing exactly what the Talk Therapy blog suggested. He put it all in perspective.
He said, “At least (in our town) nobody goes hungry.” He explained that there are three places within walking distance of each other. One serves breakfast Monday through Friday. Another serves lunch Monday through Thursday. The third serves dinner Monday through Friday. People don’t have to be homeless, they don’t have to be jobless, they simply need to show up and they are fed.
I know there are a few people who probably get meals and don’t really need them; but for those who are hungry, it is nice to know they have a place to go.
I have never gone hungry in my life. I might think I have. I might have missed a meal because I was busy. There was a time when I would not eat because I wanted to lose weight. But I have NEVER been hungry without access to food.
I am very fortunate. I understand that. The man I met today also understood how lucky he was to have access to meals Monday through Friday (don’t know what they do on Saturday or Sunday – maybe they find cookouts!). But it bothers me to say that the hunger and poverty in this country is meaningless compared to those in other countries.
So today’s challenge:
1. Don’t try to save the world, you can’t. Try to help someone in your own community instead.
2. Absolutely put it all in perspective. You could have it a lot worse
3. Don’t ignore your own needs in order to help someone. It may seem nice to give someone your coat off your back or your shoes off your feet, but your being cold and cutting your feet on broken glass won’t help anyone.
4. Research places where people can get help in your community. Consider volunteering your time or donating to one of these places.
5. Don’t feel guilty about your cup of coffee or tasty treat. Realize you are keeping others employed.
If you’re hungry in my town, I know where you can get breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Monday through Friday. You’re on your own on the weekends.