Monday, September 23, 2013

On Dignity and Poverty

It is fitting that this post is my 250th! Its fitting because it is something I deeply care about.

When Alex and I decided to obey and move our family to El Salvador, it was not about doing a good deed. We aren't leaving a comfy corporate job and salary because we are exceptionally good people. Alex and I aren't so naïve to think this is going to be easy.

What we do know, is that the benefit far outweighs the sacrifice.

The men and women that we will get to spend our days and lives with are people that we can learn much from. They are people with so much dignity and grace that it puts many people in this country to shame. 

It is a person with exceeding amounts of dignity that can live in a dirt floor shack and be thankful. To wonder how you will feed your children that day, and yet wake with a smile.  To welcome a stranger into your home, that comes from the "land of plenty" and give up your seat. To give that stranger your meager rations of plantains, her only source of income, and insist that it is a gift.  This is dignity.

Dignity is not reserved for the wealthy.  Dignity is not based upon whether or not you have indoor plumbing.  It isn't even an issue of whether or not you are fully clothed (in El Salvador). Its in the heart and soul.  It is found in abundance in the depths of their deep dark eyes. 

The women I will be living amongst have little to no material goods.  But what they do have is beauty, grace and their dignity.  I know women who have endured horrific circumstances.  Things many of the people I know in Ohio would never even fathom.  But through it all, the majority of the women I've spent time with in La Libertad remain strong.  They press on.
{That pack n' play in the background is one you helped provide!}

I made it a point this last trip to not just be a visitor who was sad for their circumstances.  I didn't want to merely give a meal to someone who might not have otherwise eaten that day.  I didn't want to simply look at their bare feet and provide them a pair.  It was not about looking upon their poverty.  I wanted to know them.  So I spoke to them about cooking, about their beautiful flowers, their children.
Because women are women, no matter if they live in a 3000 sq. foot home in suburban United States, or if they live in a 16x20 dirt floor shack.  We all want to have some beauty in our lives and be complimented.  To be known for more than our circumstances.

"The presence of dignity doesn't mean poverty is absent."- anonymous
Likewise the presence of poverty does not mean dignity is absent.
There are ways in which we the elite Americans can help. Trust me, if you have a roof over your head, a bed to lie in and food in your fridge, you are the elite.
A very simple, oh so easy way to help is by sponsoring a child through Compassion International.  It is only $38 a month.  $38 feeds, clothes, pays school fees, provides medical care and teaches a child about Jesus Christ.  Compassion has gone above and beyond to make it as simple as possible for people to sponsor a child. You can have the money come out automatically.  You can fill in pre-made templates to write letters to your child. You can even pick the age, the country and date of birth if you so choose!
Please sponsor a child, or a second or third if you are able.  The entire family of sponsored children are affected by your small monthly gift.  It is truly life changing and they will think of you as family.

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