topiary cats

topiary cats

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

On Poverty

I want to preface this post by saying I am neither unaware of nor insensitive to issues of poverty and hunger in third world countries.

Some reactions and thoughts have been flying around in my mind since Friday.
The very nice person I went to dinner with is originally from Egypt. The conversation turned to poverty and living conditions, hunger, etc that exist in Egypt and other countries.

This conversation made me realize that I'm actually tired of hearing about it. Not because I don't care- because I do- but when I was married this issue was shoved in my face and I'm only now becoming aware of my resentment, because it caused so much imbalance and restriction in my life and my mind. Once when I carved a pumpkin for Halloween I got a whole lecture about how it was a waste of food and could feed a whole family. When I fasted for spiritual reasons I got a reaction of "you can choose not to eat, others don't have that choice." My decision to not eat meat was met with "Only the wealthy can choose what to eat and what not to eat. Your choice to not eat something is a luxury." At the time, I lived with a superimposed attitude from the ex that we shouldn't partake in anything while others went without. Meanwhile, my roof was caving in, there wan't enough to go around just to support the household's basic needs. But I didn't want to be selfish.

While I respect the struggles and hardships that growing up in poverty inevitably brings, I also do not think it makes a person noble. It does not invalidate the challenges that the non-poverty people face. Nor do I think that any of us should feel guilty for what we have, because others don't have it. Not taking things for granted and gratitude are essential, but that's another thing altogether.

Where am I going with this? Not sure, but's been floating around in my head. I need a change from that focus. Does that make me selfish? No, I don't think so. It means I am focused on learning how to live the life that was given to me with gratitude and appreciation and awareness of the plights of others. The truth is that I am powerless to stop world hunger, poverty, and war.

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