Insanity of Motherhood

Motherhood, marriage, and midlife.

Forgotten

13 Comments

It is a revolutionary world we live in. Governments repress their people; and millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich; and wealth is lavished on armaments. 

For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked for us. 

The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American society.

-Robert F. Kennedy-

The other night before heading out to dinner a friend and I were talking about the upcoming election.  We discussed the candidates and issues we were most concerned with.  This election year has focused a lot on the middle class.  I suppose since most Americans fall into this group focusing on getting their votes is a good idea.  My friend said she understood the need of worrying about needs of the middle class, but she was more concerned about the poor.  She recalled an early memory of  Robert Kennedy visiting the Appalachian Mountain in Kentucky.  The year was 1968.   Robert Kennedy conducted a two-day tour of the rural areas of Kentucky known as the Poverty Tour.  The images of the coal miner families living in poverty stayed with my friend for over 40 years.

It is hard to imagine that in our land of plenty that many Americans are struggling to stay alive.  Most envision poverty to exist in the inter- cities, but it can be found anywhere.   We go about our daily lives often never seeing someone poor.  They are invisible to us.

Right now as I type to you on my home computer, listening to my boys jump on their new trampoline, waiting for my husband to bring my mini-van home from being filled with expensive gasoline there are people in America are wondering where their next meal will come from.  They are wondering how they will get to work without money to buy gas or a bus pass.  They are wondering if they will lose their home because they are unable to pay the rent.

Occasionally I am reminded of the poor when I see a homeless person on the street.  At times their personal state is too painful to look at and I can’t look them directly in the eye.  I consider myself a compassionate person.  I do care about people and their well-being, but the problem is I tend to focus more on my immediate surroundings.  I help those who I am connected to somehow:  teachers at the boys school, neighbors, family and friends.  It isn’t that I don’t care about people living in poverty it’s just I can’t see them, so sometimes they get forgotten.

At times I feel guilty for my happy life.  There are those who say I have nothing to feel sorry for because I have worked hard.  I have worked hard, but I also have never experienced poverty nor had to work my way of it…which really would be much harder than anything I have ever done.  Not everyone starts at the same place at the race for life.  Some start farther ahead with abundant finances, great schooling and excellent healthcare.  While others start behind merely because they were born into a family with limited resources.

My friend reminded me I need to keep the poor in a more visible spot in my life.  I need to find out who needs my help and find ways to help them.  We all do.  The government can and should do all they can to help those in poverty, but I must do my part too.   I must do more than pray for those who are suffering.  I must do more than send a check or two.  I must realize that although some people are hidden from view they still exist.

Being poor isn’t a crime.  Most people who live in poverty don’t want to live that way.

No one wants to be forgotten.

Author: insanityofmotherhood

Mom of three boys, wife, educator, and all around nice gal in the middle of a midlife something. It's not a crisis, but it's something…

13 thoughts on “Forgotten

  1. I think we should certainly care and feel pity for those who have less. We should do what we can to enable them to have opportunities so that they too can lead decent lives where they don’t have to worry about their next meal (or whatever the case may be). The current unemployment rate is a disgrace and is leading to alot hurt for alot of people.
    I don’t think feeling guilty for your happy life is the answer at all. It does no one any good. It’s like when you were told not to leave food on the plate cause people were starving. enjoy your life and its privileges. However, you help as you can help whether it be through charity of the financial sort or of your time or both.
    Hope, this does not come off in a rude way.

    • I don’t feel guilty all the time and I do enjoy all I have been blessed with. But I do go about my life at times not thinking of those who are less fortunate. I become egocentric and focus on my wants too much sometimes. You don’t sound harsh Larry, just frustrated. This blog post is my role or lack of with poverty.

  2. thank you for this blog nate–i could feel that it was very heartfelt and true.

  3. One thing I learned from traveling the world is that even the poorest street bum amongst us is generally better off than the poor in any other country. While I generally feel a bit of sorrow for the poor, I can’t say it is because of guilt. And maybe it makes me cruel, but all I see in them is wasted humanity.

    My son left home and hitchhiked all across America when he was 16. He was gone for two years (no I never heard from him), and I worried every day. When he came home he told me about living on the streets in San Francisco. He said he made upwards of three hundered dollars PER DAY panhandling. He got fed every day, at least once a day, by a Chinese restaurant who put out their left overs in the ally behind the business, twice daily. If you got there early enough, it was all still good and set out in clean buckets. The homeless lined up there a lot. In fact there were dozens of places like that, and if you were part of the homeless community, they shared the info with you.

    He said a good portion of the homeless are there because of bad choices in life. Drugs, prison sentences, no education, laziness. Some were there because they were mentally ill, but all the other homeless helped to take care of them. And the majority were there because they wanted to be homeless. They liked the life style. And they traveled all over the US, until they found a place they liked best and stayed. For a while anyway.

    In today’s world, there is NO reason for people to be without the basics. Homeless shelters, half way houses, places for women and children, all give residents the opportunity to find jobs, get on welfare, and move into their own places. Our tax dollars pay for those things, and there is no shame in needing help – in the short run.

    Those who are incapable, ill, have mental illnesses, aged, all need to have help for their lives, until they die. But there are plenty of abled bodied folks who simply believe that it is their right to sit on their butts watching their big screen cable TV, with their computers and fancy gear all around them. They drive nice cars, and most of them eat much better than the average hardworking lower income people. Food stamps buy steaks, but my budget doesn’t always stretch past hamberger meat. THOSE people, I have no compassion for in the least. Never have, never will. And No, I have never been on welfare, even when I was elegible. Too much pride, and too hard working.

    The truly poor do need our help and charity. Churches and the community should be helping them, not the government. Everyone needs help at one time or another. Our church has a storehouse system for all members in need to pull from for food. It takes permission from the Bishop, but the food is there.

    So I guess I am hard hearted, but really, I hate to see all the wasted potential of the people who decide to let the government care for them from cradle to grave – with no desire to do more than live and die in the ghetto. Very sad, very frustrating.

    • I am always amazed how discussing the poor often brings up so many intense emotions for people. I do not think you are hard hearted, but like Larry you do sound frustrated. Frustrated at those who do not take advantage of the opportunities they have been given. My concern is how often we go about our lives not thinking of those who are struggling. We turn our heads the other way and hope someone else will care for the elderly, poor and mentally ill. Perhaps if more of us were willing to recognize these people and asisst them less finances would need to be given to through goverment means. I need to do more. I suspect most of us do.

  4. I like your gentle reminder. Too often we roll through our days without thinking of the less fortunate– the ones that truly need our help. It is always good to look inward , refocus and strive to change.Thanks for the wake up

  5. We can get so wrapped up in our daily lives we tend to lose sight of people just on the other side of the lane who have so much less. I understand there will be different economic levels within our society, but have a very hard time grasping how we (in the USA) allow so many to go without. Many children are on the brink of starving and if it were not for school lunches, would not eat at all. Thank you for this reminder that we all need, take off the blinders and look. Once we are aware, we can not ignore..

  6. Reblogged this on themommygauntlet and commented:
    It’s SO important to remember what’s really important, as Nate of Insanity of Motherhood reminded me recently…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s