This may be too fundamental for many of you, but after two years of living in the “developing world”, I’ve come to something. Are you ready? Here it is: poverty is not simple. For some reason, (I am blatantly projecting my stupidity here) I actually thought that there was an end in sight. Maybe, I said in my subconscious mind, if we work really hard, some solutions will be found. Some things will be better than before.
At this point, I’d like to quote Dorothy Day, the leader of the Catholic Worker Movement, in her book, Loaves and Fishes:
Poverty is a strange and an elusive thing. I have tried to write about it, its joys and its sorrows, for thirty years now; and I could probably write about it for another thirty without conveying what I feel about it as well as I would like.
When I found this quote, I was strangely elated. What? I thought, Another wrestled this distressing knot for longer than I and never seemed to find it’s ragtag end either.
Poverty is complicated because there are no easy solutions.
Poverty is complicated because it wears many faces.
Poverty is complicated because, paradoxically, it is commanded.
For the next few weeks, I will be posting several blog posts about poverty. This is important, as Dorothy Day says, because “We need always to be thinking and writing about [poverty]; for if we are not among its victims its reality fades from us. We must talk about poverty because people insulated by their own comfort loose sight of it” (Loaves and Fishes).
As our Messiah said, the poor we will always have with with us. Always. So let’s lay into that knot. Together.