What does it mean to be poor?

What does it mean to be poor?

According to surveys, a large percentage of Filipinos consider themselves as poor. Poverty, in a literal sense of having no fixed jobs, not eating thrice a day, doesn’t have a good dwelling place to rest and probably can’t afford schooling. Our country indeed suffers from impoverishment! Every election, candidates promise to fight poverty so that people may experience a noble and richer life.

We try to fight poverty and we are eager to be freed; there’s nothing wrong about this for we deserve to live a life with dignity. But how can we ever solve a problem if we are not acting the expected obligation form us? As a citizen, we are expected to work for our living, and on the other hand, the government will suffice things which still lacking to us or things which we deserve to have. Sometimes, the problem comes to us citizens, we take for granted our responsibilities and pass ‘all’ the obligations to the government where at the end, we blame the government for the turtle-movement of progress. We must be awaken by a realization that we need to act for ourselves too as the government does its obligation for us. We are poor because we decided to be poor. If a person wants to become successful in life, he lives his dream and act on it. On the contrary, if a person just waits for the guava to fall down into his mouth, (as a famous metaphor ‘Juan Tamad’ mentality) nothing will happen and it may only cause tiredness and even stress on our part.

Above, I shared my reflection on poverty on its literal and physical sense. At this moment, I would like to focus my reflection on the aspect of poverty which I think very important to consider for if neglected all will fall short—the spiritual poverty. Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said: We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. Beyond physical poverty lies the very vital side of poverty. We, thus, can consider ourselves rich if we are loved, wanted, and cared. We may not be rich with money but we can nonetheless be rich with the love that comes from your family, friends and those who believe in you. What is money if you are alone and stressed on how you will use them up. For me, we need to be renewed first so that things which are intangible will be tangible. Poverty is not just all about not to be able to fill our stomach; rather, it can also be about filling our hearts with love and compassion. Not so much about nakedness but more on wearing robes of familiarity and immediacy. Not so much about being homeless but more of being at home with one another.

-Fiel Pareja, MPM

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