I just wrote this, and am not sure what to do with it, but here it is. It came to me in a flash, while lying in my bed, which doubles as a couch.
May 28, Memorial Day, 2012
WHAT POVERTY TEACHES ME: A MEDITATION
Poverty teaches me to make do.
Poverty teaches me that the biggest isn’t the best. Poverty teaches me that less is more. Poverty teaches me to think big with my mind.
Poverty teaches me the true meaning of downsizing. I have learned that it’s easy to get rid of what I don’t want by giving it away. Poverty teaches me to take pride that I do not need a manicure, pedicure or haircut, nor do I need to adorn my body with jewelry or fancy clothes. In fact, being poor has taught me that I don’t need new clothes.
Poverty teaches me to laugh and cry when they try to sell me a new TV luxury, such as a satellite dish. I appreciate the thrill of telling them, “Sorry, no TV.” When they try to repair a crack in my car’s windshield, I am overjoyed to say, “Sorry, no car.” Without the car and the TV, I am free.
Poverty teaches me that my little dog is just as needy as I am, and deserves the best. I cherish this creature. She is sacred. I need her as much as she needs me.
Poverty teaches me to say, “Yes, thank you,” and also, “No, thank you.” Mostly, though it teaches me to keep my mouth shut.
Poverty teaches me to accept and love the unwanted, the dented, the scratched, the unbeautiful, and whatever is a little too old, too wrinkled, no longer fashionable, and outdated.
Poverty teaches me to accept and love that which has been cast out by others, that which was used and then tossed aside, and forgotten in the corners of the marketplace.
Poverty teaches me to love the second-hand. I have learned to hold these things that I have adopted and brought into my household as things dear to my heart, and when I dream, I try to trace their roots.
Poverty teaches me to settle for what others consider second best. It teaches me to simplify, and embrace what is plain, compact, and practical.
Poverty gives me freedom because material goods give me nothing unless in my mind I am free.
Poverty teaches me to plan ahead, a skill I never had before. It teaches me to consider priorities and pros and cons, to discern between need and want.
Poverty teaches me to appreciate the government that recognizes that I have a need, but also to question this government, because along with these gifts, I must accept that I will not always be respected.
Because of poverty, I’ve lost friends. Because of poverty, I’ve gained friends. God, my inner strength, has always been by my side, even when I have been angry and bitter.
Poverty unleashes my creativity. How can I get this to last?
In winter, when I struggle in my cold apartment, I love to hear the story of the drop of oil that lasted eight days. I know that even if I’m poor, though not born in a manger, I can, and will change the world.
Poverty teaches me that there time to think about debt, and a time to set those thoughts aside. For all my gripes and complaints, the world can truly be a beautiful place, especially now that I have the time, and occasionally, the inclination to sit back and look at it.
I look at the world and I write. I wring out and extract. If I am painstaking, what comes out is something money cannot buy. It is a river of clarity, born of the divine, a glory to behold.