Friday, November 9, 2007

Poor

I listened to this CBC interview (Oct 29) with Jean Vanier and it's stuck in my head. I'm trying to write an essay on the boys in the group home in light of it. Jean Vanier (the founder of L'Arche communities) has such a beautiful way of talking about weakness and how we need the weak amongst us. I've been thinking a lot about that and what that means in my life and how that looks in my work. I don't get a strong sense that many people feel we need these broken, angry, violent, seemingly hopeless boys. There is a strong sense of duty, of doing "what's right", there's lots of pity and of saving tax payers dollars by spending today to save from worse expenditures tomorrow, but need? Not so much. And really, let's be forthright here, I can talk about society's need till I'm blue, but unless I really understand how I need them personally, I'm just another blabber. I don't want to be another blabber.
So I'm thinking today about weakness and how I need it, and how there is a deeper reality where the tables are turned and my group home boys are the blessed with gifts to give me, the poor, and how it seems that maybe this life is all one big "becoming poor".

4 comments:

Mike S said...

Poverty comes in many guises, from being poor in spirit to being poor in a monetary sense. The amazing thing to me has always been that those we perceive as being 'poor' in some way, usually see themselves being blessed with riches of a more intangible nature:)

Angela said...

you know, mike, i'm not sure i agree with you. in my experience the "poor" i've met are often blessed with riches that the wealthy are without, but have difficulties recognizing these riches in themselves in the face of material, intellectual or historical wealth in others. it seems to me that we all have difficulties recognizing and using our "wealth" and so always need help from the poor, whoever we are. wealth and poverty of all sorts become equalizers.

Cecily said...

In a rather narcissistic, self absorbed way I need the poor to remind me how much I have and be thankful. I suspect you're talking about deeper needs than this! When I see the poor in my own city they force me to reflect on what really is of value in the world. I see them and remind myself that even thought most of us are looking on them with judgment because they don't conform to our idea of what we should all look like, God looks at them and sees a precious life that is of as much value as yours, mine or the richest person in town. The poor remind me not to be so shallow, to scratch beneath the surface of how they look, to not be sucked into the whole appearance, possession, image thing. Still narcissistic I suppose because it comes back to me, but the poor make me richer because they remind me what is of worth, and that is the person's being not their doing or belongings. I find this humbling... we mightn't sit next to each other in normal circumstances, but we sit right next to each other in God's eyes and we are measured in exactly the same way.

Mike S said...

Angela, Cecily...have to agree with you both. As far as the poor seeing themselves as 'rich', I was thinking of places I've visited/lived in 3rd world countries where the wealth of others isn't seen commonly, unless you live in a city. I agree that those constantly confronted with the riches of others have a very hard time seeing value in themselves. It's truly a personal need to be reminded of how rich I am in so many ways, both spiritually and physically. When God judges us, we'll be judged by who we are, not what we owned. Take care.