Let me tell you that I myself have narrowly escaped poverty. I didn’t really realize I escaped until I bought myself a pair of prescription sunglasses. Let me tell you a story.
My husband and I both worked full-time. Add in a high risk pregnancy due to the death of one of our twins, the subsequent birth of a disabled child, and BOOM, we were in poverty. I stayed home and half of our income was gone. Over 7 years, I returned to work, we crawled out of poverty, had 3 more kids, and fell right back into poverty when the hubby became disabled. Fast forward to a date more recent, I broke my glasses and needed a new pair.
I’m standing in my locally owned optical center who is advertising $70 full glasses. The owner tells me I can get two pair for $100, and one pair can be tinted. I excitedly wrote the check for two pairs of glasses, including a pair of prescription sunglasses that I have always wanted to own and never had the extra money to purchase. Two days later I return for my glasses. As I get into my car and put my new prescription sunglasses on, I literally tear up at the fact I am wearing my first pair of sunglasses I can see out of without putting them over my regular glasses. I realized writing the check for $30 more than I budgeted to spend for something as frivolous as sunglasses meant while I was by no means rich, but that I had escaped. My kids would never be hungry again. We would never be without heat again. We were all going to be ok.
But let me also tell you this, those worries and mind sets and self talk that I had throughout our journey into and out of poverty, they have made a home and aren’t going anywhere. I still worry if we will have food, heat, and whether the car will be repossessed. The little house of cards (that’s my word for our budget, creative isn’t it) could crumble at any time and put us right back there. We are still an injury or serious illness away from losing it all.
My final thought here, when does poverty really end?