Humility in poverty.

If ever I have felt vaguely superior to anyone else, I now cringe at the thought, for who are we to elevate ourselves to any level above that of anyone else on this planet? 

Yes, I agree that one’s intelligence through birthright, or intellect through opportunity of learning, certainly places one in a different category of learnedness but it by no means allows one to assume superiority over another.

We are all born naked, vulnerable and intimately human, so too shall we end our lives as such. 

Over these past couple of weeks, I have had the good fortune to witness levels of poverty that speak of many generations of such. A short documentary on “covid’s companion”, Netflix titled “The Trader” gave me great pause as it highlighted my experience these past days.

The documentary is based on a trader of goods for potatoes, which he sells in order to purchase more goods, and so the cycle perpetuates. He trades his goods, mostly second hand clothing items, in the rural villages of an economically depressed Georgia, formerly a member of the Soviet Union.

Why would it be my “good fortune” to have had the opportunity to witness such levels of poverty? It is in the lesson of humility that my fortune arises. What a stark reminder of my own humanity and vulnerability, made all the more poignant with the growing numbers of deaths chalked up to the continuing covid pandemic.

We have but one life to live and to live it to it’s abundant best, no matter where we find ourselves, nor what our circumstances are. This poverty that shrouds so many of our fellow human beings, is in fact a blessing of sorts: the less we have, the less we have to lose.

I cannot begin to imagine losing everything and being reduced to being a peasant, eeking out a crust from an unyielding earth, as the Georgians are compelled to do. Neither am I remotely virtuous enough to suggest that I am giving up everything that I own and taking to the streets, a-la-Mother Teresa, although a level of being “homeless” has been experienced for the past eight months, whilst we have adventured far and wide, enjoying the overwhelming generosity of some of our dear friends.

I am equally not politically convicted on a marxist, socialitst or communist level as I am unashamedly capitalist in my views on reward for work and commitment to ambition through personal effort.

Perhaps this global pandemic has produced an awakening in all of us as to the value and vulnerability of human life. With it, the chance to develop a certain level of contentment for what we already have, instead of continually seeking that which we don’t have.

Lockdown measures around the world have led to many forced closures of businesses and loss of income for many families. These measures create an uncertainty that is totally foreign to those of us more fortunate to have basic financial security and goes some way to levelling the proverbial playing fields with those less fortunate.

So it is that I count my blessings over and over again, with a heart filled with gratitude for whatever and wherever I find myself on this “new life adventure”, humbled by those with great lessons to teach me in the art of humility. 

My wish is that my currency become my smile and may it be one of compassion and encouragement to all and everyone who crosses my path.

2 thoughts on “Humility in poverty.

  1. Hi Sally,
    We are the American girls from Istanbul and are hoping you made it to your daughter’s graduation this weekend! Wish you all the best!


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