The poster featured a picture of the very successful Bill Gates
where the declarative statement referenced the plight of being born poor but the relief of knowing that your future is in your own hands.
I agree but I know how over simplified the reality of life can be made. It is easy to say to others that all you have to do is work hard. Just put a little more effort in. Yet, effort uninformed by wisdom and cultural insight can leave that hard working person spent and ignorant and walking in place. Think of the protagonist in the August Wilson play Fences. Troy was hard working, but as he notes in his despair —- it failed to yield that higher place in society. He worked hard but brought home that ubiquitous small pay check.
What is to be done about the plight of the Troys? When does the intervention portal arise in a life to avoid the despair of mid life when the awareness rises that the dream does not come true. The ghetto of life is not escaped. What role does community afford to offer a ladder from the abyss? Every community knows where the abyss people are. Often, the successful in these places are comforted by the belief that abyss dwellers have created and therefore deserve their plight. These dwellers are made invisible to some and suffer criticism for being who they. But who they are is created by where they are.
Nelson Mandela wrote “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” This is food for thought. Charity is not the answer. What do hardworking abyss dwellers need to know, need to learn ??? The answer can be sought. The finding is in the hands of the seeker. Is it possible that it takes more than a lifetime to find the ladder to the higher places in life? Maybe the abyss dwellers’ life is the ladder for the next generation to understand better how to be and how to succeed.
In January as we celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. Maybe a quote from him on this topic is apropos.
“If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain. If I can do my duty as a Christian ought, if I can bring salvation to a world once wrought, if I can spread the message as the master taught, then my living will not be in vain.”