We as a country are spoiled. I never wanted to believe that I was–after all, I had pretty much nothing my whole life, and almost everything I had was someone else’s castoffs. I had to scramble and scrimp and scavenge to get anything. Poverty was all I ever knew. And still, I say that we are spoiled. We expect so much. We feel deprived if we don’t have gadgets and things that go beyond necessities. We feel deprived if we don’t have luxuries, and the media sure fuel that envy.
I used my tax “refunds” (which are wealth redistribution disbursements, really) to buy either necessities (such as cheap used cars) or things that would help me climb the rope out of poverty (capacity builders). I’d see poor people in the stores buying tons of “toys” and junk with theirs, like they had been gifted the right to waste money, and I thought then as I do now, that it’s such an irresponsible use of that money. What we do is supposed to glorify God, and I just couldn’t see how buying huge flat screen TVs and gaming consoles and carts full of beer could be good. I want to use our tax refunds to free us financially–to start raising most of our own food, make us less dependent upon grocery stores and food manufacturers.
Living in poverty and getting out
I thought I had it hard–and I did in many ways–from childhood on. But even though I was at the bottom of America, I still had a cushion of sorts under me. I always found or created a job of some kind (even though with my disabilities, I could never keep one for long). I never went more than four days without food (except when I was a child). I usually had access to medical care (although not dental). I had enough to stay alive. That’s more than what some people have, even in America. I also usually had a phone, and in the last several years, often had internet at home.
An aside: Many people say that having access to the internet is a luxury, but it’s not for me. The only work I can do is on the computer, and I am pretty much housebound, so without access to the internet, I can’t make any money. Saying I don’t need internet is like someone telling you that you don’t need a vehicle. How else will you get to work?!
I’m doing what I can to get out of poverty, one step and one day at a time. My “how” is via computer and home economics.
I’m content in a sense. Does that mean I will stay where I am, and give up the climb out of the pit, because I could have it worse? No. But I will stop putting all that energy into complaining! Instead, I will calmly and quietly take a step forward, content with where I am at any given moment–content in the sense that I’m grateful that where I am is better than some positions would be, and better than where I was before.
I plan to keep moving forward, to keep improving my situation. I can be content, and yet, at the same time, not plan to stay there.
Less stress and making progress
A healthy discontent is how every advancement, invention and improvement happens. I’m okay with my situation in the sense that it no longer stresses me out or steals my peace like it once did. Things are somewhat better now than before. And, at the same time, I’m going to keep moving forward, doing things that might make a difference.
This lack of striving–of no longer grunting with effort while I jump to reach higher on the rope of poverty escape–this quiet resolve to put whatever amount of energy I have (which is not much with disabilities and three kids to homeschool) into doing something toward launching a venture instead. This, I expect, will yield much better results. This approach, I hear, is Orthodox. 🙂