Friday, June 20, 2008


H/T to Elliot who blogs @ Dust Off the Bookshelf. The post that caught my attention was about boundaries and poverty v. comfort. Elliot writes,

"Recently, a friend of mine has been experiencing this divide first hand. In a post chronicling his trip to Mexico and the USA he wrote the following:

'Grass and vegetation in the slums is non-existent, yet only half an hour across the border suburban lawns sprout lush crops of green grass. I’ve spent time in crowded homes which stench with the smell of many people, yet in the same day walked through air-conditioned shopping centers which seem to stretch for acre upon acre.”

Isn’t that absurd? I wonder, how close do the poor have to become before we begin to experience compassion? Another continent, a few kilometres across the border, or on our doorstep?'

My first thought was that this happens in neighborhoods, too (i.e. on our doorstop?).

Here is a quick example of what I mean. Today my youngest and I were driving back from WalMart (I am still feel guilty about shopping there but . . . . . it is . . . . cheap).
He was a little preoccupied in the back seat with his new walkie talkie and when he looked up he said, "Where are we?"

I was driving home the "back way" through a neighborhood that is on the outskirts of our regular route. The houses are small (averaging about 1400 square feet), very close together and many are leased.

"Where are we?" opened up a great conversation. We were
  • only 5 or 6 miles from home.
  • in an area where the convenience stores have a decidedly tired look and feel and men wait on corners for people to come by and offer them work for a day.
  • in a neighborhood that floods every time we have serious rain.
  • in a neighborhood that borders multi million dollar homes in gated communities. (And for some strange reason these homes DO NOT flood although they are right next to homes that do . . . . can we say, "Money makes a difference?")
I also wonder how close the poor have to be before we remember to live in gratitude for what we have and to always be compassionate and generous.

Graphics Source: Duane Gordon


M.E. said...

Saw your comment on my blog and wanted to let you know I replied there. Have a great weekend!

Soutenus said...

Thanks M.E.! :-)

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