Thursday, February 07, 2013
I've seen it deeply, indelibly etched on the faces of literally thousands of our neighbors as they sit in the waiting area of our food pantry on Haskell Avenue in inner city East Dallas.
You can't miss it if you stop long enough to take it in.
Even beneath the smiles of courtesy and politeness, the deep facial lines, chiseled by a long, long bout with continual disappointment and the limitations imposed by chronic, unrelenting poverty, remain.
Sadness that spills over into the lives of children early on.
Sadness that imposes limits, curtails expectations, and that all too often pools up at depths sufficient to swamp an otherwise promising life.
Sadness creates cesspools of hopelessness and resignation.
The variety of sadness I've observed again and again in the inner city demands a life-patience beyond my capacity to comprehend.
Most of my middle class and upper class friends have no clue. More significantly, we go to great lengths to dispel any notion of sadness.
Sadness discomforts us.
We avoid it at costs.
We even attempt to "shew it away" whenever we see it!
This ignorance arises from a basic inexperience in waiting for anything, especially the necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter, transportation, education, employment, safety, health care, recreation, entertainment, celebration, civic life and organization, public engagement, to name a few.
Most of us wait for very little.
The patient response of the poor to the overwhelming sadness of so much of life lived in poverty contributes to the maintenance of social stability.
While we should be grateful, most of us remain unknowing.
Poverty creates a foreboding culture defined largely by deep, thick sadness.
Good news to the poor always involves driving the sadness out of life--a mission that can be accomplished only in a community that embraces sadness. To deliver hope a community must live out of a commitment to understanding, honest self-evaluation, and radical dependence on those who know this sadness best, those who live it out every day.
I wonder if we're up to it?