Monday, November 29, 2010

The Realities of Poverty

I have come face to face with poverty. I am now part of a family who lives much differently then most of us do..in fact, if you are reading this, I know for sure you live differently than they do. Safe Families has brought me to this.

I have read about poverty in the newspaper and through statistics. But, I have never sat in their home, talked to them, touched them...I am ashamed to even write that. I am close to 40 years old and I have never really done life with someone ravaged by poverty.

Do you know what poverty does? Poverty prevents a mom from getting her child into the doctor. She has no insurance. Why? Because she has no home. No address. She can't fill out the paperwork. She has no phone to conduct the necessary phone interview. She has no car...so even if she does get the health care figured out, getting to the doctor is going to be a huge challenge.

Poverty tells her education is not important. Her kids get treated poorly at school because they wear the same clothes over and over again. Teachers generally don't give them the benefit of the doubt. As a former teacher, I can tell you that teachers DO have favorites - and they are usually the clean, well behaved, conscientious children...not ones who live in poverty.

Poverty leaves this mom uneducated. No computer. I think of all the times I run to the computer to look up something and have access to great (and admittedly, sometimes not so great) information. We communicate through email - we stay in touch - we do reports. This mom can't look up the guidelines for qualifying for Badgercare. This mom can't quickly access the school's phone number to report an absence.

Poverty keeps her stuck in the house. No car. How can she possibly look for a job without a car?

And poverty perpetuates poverty. Her mom lives in poverty. She grew up in poverty. Her kids only know poverty.

And yet, so many of us sit in our warm homes today, going to a pantry filled with food, choosing from multiple outfits what we want to wear. I know, this mom has made some very, very bad choices in her life that contribute to the bleak picture. But, she her teacher has been poverty.

"If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered." Proverbs 21:13

Do you think God really means this?

3 comments:

Ann Marie said...

I've seen it many times and experienced it both as a nurse and a homecare nurse. It does forever change your perspective.

beckley said...

Good post, Traci.

Proverbs 31- verses 1-9 set up 10-31, and the whole book sets up chapter 31. We all too often teach this "Proverbs 31 woman" as a suburban socialite with a full cabinet and devotions...but if we really---REALLY understand Proverbs, the general arc of scripture, we see King's mother prescribing a woman (not a real person, but a poetic hope for what a woman would be if she understands her place in the world) who sees the broken, and is willing to break on their behalf.

Your post is more in line with Proverbs 31 Woman than most I read on the topic, and you should be commended for standing, in humanity and godliness, with the ones for whom God implores us to love.

Thank you for being the hands and feet. May the Lord's hand be upon you as you work- Shalom be yours, and indigenous to your path-

Bear Creek Mama said...

okay, you got me! I see your heart now. The Father's heart. It's radical....
I'm convicted. I can't sit back and think, as I essentially have been doing, that I've 'checked' the box. It doesn't stop. We must continue to the next step. Always looking for, out for, the other ONE that needs Him through me. Hmmmm....Thank you for your heart and for sharing your convictions with me. Thank you for encouraging and challenging me to do more than I am doing....to be His hands and feet. Again. And again. And then, again.