“It’s not all that embarrassing. It’s life. You do what you gotta do.” – a young lady who goes to school like every kid by day, and lives in a truck with her widowed father and brother.

Some of us are simply oblivious.  People all around us live literally on the edge of disaster.  Where some of us complain when our cable acts up, others are happy to have a warm place to sleep at night even if it is in a temporary shelter in the fellowship hall of a downtown church.  Where some of us insist on eating only free range chicken or drinking orange juice with a certain level of pulp, there are other people whose life concern is having a meal that did not have to be scavenged from a garbage can.   A trip to the doctor for an ailment complaining all the way about the co-pay. For others. pray the wait in the ER is not too long, that is if you can get past the gatekeepers asking who will pay.

I once participated in a fund-raiser the local homeless shelter.  We had spend the night sleeping on a parking lot in December raising so many dollars an hour from sponsors for our efforts.  Of course, we we  were surrounded by scores of the city’s finest, under the lights of local news teams, entertained by local celebrity bands.   We couldn’t eat until the shelter opened in the morning but my secretary insisted on supplying me with a mattress to separate me from the pavement.  I endured it and added a little nobility to my halo but after enough breakfast for an entire family, I went home to sleep the next day away in my clean, warm, comfortable bed.

In our nation we often vilify the poor, attributing to them the worse labels of laziness, greedy dependence, and sexual foolishness.  Or we make them objects of patronization that puts us in the spotlight but leaves them back on the street when the moment of attention fades,

And yet so often, I find a quiet dignity and patient ambition in those who know that they have so they have little.  When many of would be bail out on life complaining all the way about our deprivation, I meet  persons like this young lady who have simply adapted to it all, sometimes expressing a deep gratitude to good and trusting in His faithfulness.

Perhaps this is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.”


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