“The poor cannot take care of the poor” is a startling contention. Leave the truth of it- if that it is- aside. On second thoughts, let’s assume its truth in an environment where we are all poor. Who is going to be the victim to say, “I am fallen, and I can’t get up?”
Is “I am more so in a deeper hold than you” a qualified rejoinder? Or “Wait your turn! We have folks here who have fallen from Adam was a boy who have not receivedany help yet,” a good way to enumerate order and process our predicament.
What is our predicament really? Poor and helpless or given to helplessness?
If the assumption of helplessness is our default where the poor cannot help the poor, then it stands to reason that the poor has to wait for the rich to intervene. But if the rich doesn’t intervene, is the recourse of the poor to be even poorer?
In the instances where the rich have provided resources to the poor, has poverty been alleviated or dependency created? Is poverty a resourced or outsourced issue?
The idea that the poor cannot help the poor crystalizes a thought process, but it becomes hard to ignore or overcome if it becomes dominant or unchallenged. As sympathetic as the thought is, it is dangerous. It seduces and undermines the required agency needed to dig one’s self out of a hole whether the rich helps or not. For without the imagination to conquer, fashion and improvise, aid which of necessity must be a little or a lot less than required, will be perennially insufficient even as the aids and grants become larger and more prominent.
To accept that the poor cannot jumpstart their own recovery because they have been rendered feeble and deficient by history and legacies is to propagate the very poverty that gives our commentary relevance without the ability to be game changers.
The thing that makes us poor is not legacy but failure in our imaginations and our reluctance to embrace the idea that our integrity is worth more than the proverbial thirty pieces of silver.
There is room enough in our conversations and bargaining with men who will trade or apprentice us in the making of gold from straw for our faithfulness to be examined and if needs be suggested for improvements. But to countenance that the poor is owed by the rich even if was cheated- or that the poor is handicapped by what he is not, is to make what should be a temporary arrangement by a cripple at the pool of Siloam permanent. This is not salvation. It is complicity with mediocrity masquerading as misfortune.
The challenge of how to get out of a miserable today can take us down avenues lined with thieves which is what this idea represents and we expect God to be there for us. Now, God is able, but that’s not what is at stake. What is at stake is whether we, the poor, are able. But before we can get to the objective of “is”, “can”, “cannot”, and other creative inventions, the subjective nature of those intangibles have to be invested in. An example of that would be, “Baa baa black sheep have you any wool?”
“Yes Sir!”, becomes us.
“Why?” It’s the only answer that works.
The interesting thing about life is that the answers to a question do not make themselves manifest or present with our announced intentions or jump out with corrections even as we insist on incorrect answers. One of the values of error is to get us to turn around, not just in our actions but in the ways, we think about our relationship with ourselves.
The bridge to repair misfortune is our discipline and our imagination coupled to our integrity. Being poor is not a handicap, unless we are persuaded to that helplessness or wish to become the life of the party as attention seeking invalids or worse, “I’ll get up, if you help me up”.
It isn’t so much that we do not need each other’s help. We do. And in my own case I found help when I didn’t even know I needed it. I am grateful for that. So very grateful.
Our tomorrows require our considered inquires so that we can improve the relationship we have with ourselves and step into a more fruitful and abundant life. We have what we need to make this happen.
“So, Baa Baa black sheep have you any wool?”
“I am so glad you ask. I mean, Yes Ma’am.” We have to empower ourselves with ideas that reaffirm the intrinsic value of our creativity and imagination. In that expansive world there is no end or lack. Be FABULOUS.
Peter Peterkin, Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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