Saturday, July 05, 2008

What does it mean to be poor?

(My aunt recently sent me this story, in Spanish, via e-mail. It is very beautiful. Below is my translation. May you be blessed!)

What does it mean to be poor?

A father, being very practical, and wanting his son to know what it was like to be poor, took him to spend the day with a family who lived on a mountain outside of Mexico City.

They spent three days and two nights living with this poor family. In the car, returning to the city, the father asked his son, “What did you think of the experience?”

“Oh, it was good,” the son replied, his eyes focused on something in the distance.

“And, what did you learn?” insisted his father.

The boy replied:

“That we have one dog and they have four. That we have a pool with stagnant water that fills up half our yard and they have an endless river, of crystal-clear water, where there are fishes and other beautiful creatures. That we light our garden with paper lanterns, while they light their garden with the stars and the moon.

Our patio reaches to the fence…but theirs reaches to the horizon. That we buy our food; they grow and harvest their own. We listen to CDs. They listen to a constant symphony of birds, parrots, frogs, and other small animals, as well as their neighbor singing as he works his fields.

We cook on an electric stove, while everything they eat is gloriously flavored by wood smoke. To protect ourselves, we surround ourselves with walls and alarms. They live with open doors, protected by the good will of their neighbors.

We live ‘connected lives’ via cell phones, computers and television. They, on the other hand, are connected to life, to the sky, to the sun, to the water, to the green mountainside, to the animals, to their livestock, and to their family.”

The father was astonished at the wisdom of his son. Then his son said,

“Thank you, Dad, for showing me how poor we are! Every day we become poorer in spirit and appreciation for the natural world and the great works of our God. We are so preoccupied with getting more and more and more instead of being preoccupied with just being.”

Dear friend, God will make you strong enough so you don’t fall. The most valuable thing in life is love; with love you can do anything!

Photo courtesy of More art soon!

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