Beauty in poverty.....
For some reason those words, "Beauty in Poverty," flowed out of me this morning. I am not sure where they came from; what inside me needed to be heard, but there they are. I sit here looking at my screen as I am surrounded by my situation - a house falling apart, appliances that fail to work, a car on the verge of breaking down any day now, a bank account that never seems to have enough in it for the essentials of life and the ever present calculator that runs numbers in my head - the constant reminder of where I am - struggling.
At times it's too much to take in - too much to swallow - too much to allow myself the moments where my body can relax and I can drift off to a pleasant healing slumber. But, yet still, those words needed to come out of me this morning. A morning where I just dropped of my son at school for his 6th grade orientation, him wearing hand me downs and garage sale finds and us in a car that made the trek on fumes...quite literally on fumes.
However, this morning is the one day of the week I usually have hope - it's pay day. I can put gas in the car today, I can buy that shampoo, bread for the house, and the much needed and often rationed toilet paper.
Funny how just one decade ago my worries centered around where our family would go on our yearly vacation, or if that weekend we should spend a day in Chicago wandering about or go to a movie and out for dinner. Luxuries I never realized how lucky I was to have to worry about.
Yes, I now have a different appreciation for life....a deeper realization on how the little simple things like being able to still share a meal with my children, watch them laugh despite our current situation, see them grow into fine responsible young men, is what it is all about.
The boys and I get by on less than 240 dollars a week. I've managed to keep my phone on, the electricity flowing, and their stomachs filled. Needless to say it's been a juggling act many weeks, and yes, I dodge those relentless phone calls from bill collectors who tell me I am making this all up, but in the last three years, I've found in me a part of me I never really knew existed - a desire to live and grow beyond all of this - to make these last few years a distant memory of "remember when" ...something the boys and I can sit and laugh about all the chaos we once knew.
I guess some would call that hope...
Don't get me wrong, there are many a night I sit and wonder if I can actually pull this off - if we will get beyond all of this or will our next step be packing up the car and heading off to a shelter while I tell the boys how we need to look at it as an "adventure" and take comfort in we're still together...a team... a scenario I hate playing over in my head, but one I know if it ever should happen I should be prepared.
But still.....there's beauty in poverty.
Existing here in rural America on a part time writing job, and partial unemployment has allowed me time to volunteer in my community - bond with others in similar or worse situations. Take an active role in being part of community - knowing that when I see a smile on some child's face - a child wearing those hand me downs and garage sale finds - is worth more than money can ever buy...yes, it's seeing hope come alive each time that happens.
Yes, poverty breeds hope and creates beauty in the smile of a child.
As long as my children smile, we will be fine - we still have hope...and that, considering everything we've suffered and experienced over the last 3 years, is beautiful.