Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Abject Poverty

Abject poverty. It's a phrase that crosses the lips of a spoiled yuppie who describes what his life will be like in the future if he doesn't get a raise. It's a concept that somehow seems appropriate to discuss while suggesting the inadequacy of one's income. It is a condition most who know the meaning of the words cannot begin to comprehend.

Abject poverty is a condition of hopeless existence, in which the only certainty seems to be hunger and perpetual insecurity. That's not insecurity in the sense one doesn't know where the next month's mortgage payment is going to come from. It's insecurity in the sense one doesn't know where the next sip of water or the next morsel of food will come from. It's the insecurity of knowing there is no assurance of a roof over one's head tonight or a way to keep the searing heat of the sun off one's head during the meanest summer. It's having no place to turn for help, no one who can offer shelter or clothing or food to eat. Adject poverty is the most wreched condition, a condition that rips away every scrap of dignity and every confidence one will live until the next sunrise.

I do not know abject poverty. I only know of it. But what I know of it makes me think it would make me feel desperate and afraid if I had to experience it. There would be no room for humanity, at least not in my head. It would be a petri dish for depression and hatred and anger and suicidal thoughts.

Try to imagine, if you can, someone you love living in abject poverty. Imagine that person homeless, penniless, and threadbare--unbathed, uncombed, unkept to the extreme--starving and wondering whether the next meal will come before starvation or an untended wound snuffs out the last vestiges of life from a worn and fragile body.

I hope these thoughts make you feel uncomfortable. I hope they make you feel uncomfortable enough to dig into your pockets and pull out some change or some bills to use as a means of buying your way out of the discomfort by making a contribution to an individual or an organization who can help.

1 comment:

YourFireAnt said...

So this is your new career....preacher?