I think most people concern themselves with the possibility of poverty. If you think about it, most people are just one disaster away from poverty. Even if you have a house, a car, a good job, and other niceties, it doesn’t mean you are immune to this horrendous circumstance. When you think about it, men and women on the side of the road holding signs is practically understandable. It is obvious that something negative transpired. Bad investment, bankruptcy, death, disease, divorce, unemployment, etc.
When I took this photo of this woman in Seoul, Korea, I thought about the constant struggle she, and millions of others globally, have to go through just make ends meet. And what ends? Ends are so subjective from country to country and person to person.
You ever hear someone tell you that our poor are rich in comparison to those in other countries? It’s true. Therefore, in many ways, poverty is subjective. The struggle, however, is, as they say, real. But its reality varies.
POVERTY ATTACKS AT WILL
Back to this lady. She was very old, as I witnessed many of the elderly performing manual labor, whether working stands on the sidewalk, selling fish in the fish markets, or transporting empty cardboard boxes with a rickshaw. Another contemplation is the understanding that poverty is blind to age. It doesn’t let up. If anything, the weariness it brings is only stronger as the bones become weaker.
I’m not here to offer a get-rich-quick scheme. Jeez! I hate those. I am here only to point out the vulnerability that we all have. The vulnerability of life. The chance that it won’t just throw you a curve, but that it will throw a fastball square at your head.
PREPARE AGAINST POVERTY
Preparing yourself for the future is the only thing you can do. It isn’t so much about the present, but rather it is about what you are presently doing to prepare for your future. Hopefully, you haven’t been playing the grasshopper while everyone else has been playing the ant.
Education and knowledge. And as Solomon said, “Get wisdom.” Don’t just desire it. Get it. Never stop learning. Never stop developing. Gather your weapons of provision. The more you know how to do, the better off you’ll be. Also, be nice. You would be surprised how much demand there is in the employment field for nice people.
Poverty can be hereditary too. Many who grow up in poverty remain in poverty. Their parents were poor. Their grandparents were poor. On down the line. So they’re poor. Why?
EDUCATION'S ROLE IN POVERTY
Poverty tends to gravitate toward the uneducated or the lazy. The latter I won’t spend any time on because that explains itself and it’s unacceptable to try to justify laziness. So education. The great debt-maker. Although it is now known to cost an arm and two legs to attend college, it is also known to provide better financial status. Degrees provide a “degree” of respectability, even if you are no smarter than a fifth grader. Of course, if you are a complete imbecile, rest assured you will eventually be found out. That’s where unemployment comes back into play.
Regardless of college, though. There are numerous free online courses called MOOC’s that can teach you countless ways to better yourself and prepare you presently in order for you to be prepared for the uncertain future. There is also a little thing called YouTube that provides a wealth of knowledge and how-to’s.
The fact is you have to start early and be consistent when staving off poverty. Stay on top of it and keep a guard in the watchtower for when it decides to approach. Because it will approach. It is always a possibility. Poverty respects no one, so never think too highly of yourself just because you aren’t dealing with it. Just understand its accessibility. Poverty, unfortunately, is easily accessible.
DON'T JUST AVOID POVERTY; FIGHT IT
Lastly, it can easily be said to me after reading this that I have no idea what this particular Korean lady went through in her life to place her in this specific economic situation. Of course not. But that isn’t the point, is it? It really isn’t about her. It’s about you. It’s about me. It’s about understanding that years swiftly turn into decades and before you know it, as any old person will tell you, life has nearly passed you by.
I’m not questioning this lady’s work ethic; if anything, I think it proves itself just in the picture. I’m not questioning your work ethic. In fact, I am not questioning anything at all. I am merely stating a point of fact: poverty, as unavoidable as it tends to be for many people, can be avoided here at home.
Many people complain of never having opportunity, but I rebut this idea with the fact that, more often than not, you create your own opportunities. And what good is opportunity? What good is an open invitation to greatness and wealth if you have played the grasshopper? If you have not prepared sufficiently? Whether you like to admit it or not, and so often this complaint switches from party to party, America has provided ample opportunity for everyone. God has provided us this great nation for just such a task. To take opportunity, better ourselves, and defeat this never-ending threat of poverty. Not only our own, but also the poverty of others.
Therefore, do not look at this picture and do not think of poverty with a sense of dread. No. Allow it to be a reminder that poverty is a simple slip or bad decision away, perhaps not for all, but for many. Perhaps it will serve as some inspiration for attaining some humility. If anything, among mankind, that would be enough.