Street children in tattered clothing knocking on windows of air-conditioned SUVs.
Posh mansions a few kilometers from cramped cardboard homes.
The few chubby kids in well-pressed uniforms and shiny black shoes,
The millions of skinny school children walking for hours in mud and rain, in thin-soled slippers.
The few technocrats who make millions,
The many mothers cleaning homes, worrying about the next bill, the next meal.
Manicured green lawns, and trash strewn alley ways.
The glaring difference between the wealthy and the hungry, which few seem to notice., and even fewer care for.
Because it hurts to look at, like glaring light. Like piercing rays, we’re afraid seeing these contrasts will make us blind. In this case, blind to what’s good in life.
To notice those who suffer while we enjoy, is to make ourselves vulnerable to guilt. If our eyes meet the forlorn look of the girl on the street, we’ll see in her pain, the fruit of our fault. The ugly consequence of our apathy. The ugly hatred of our self-absorption.
When that happens, our conscience won’t rest easy. Our cushy homes will no longer feel safe. They’ll become concrete reminders of our guilt.
And no matter how hard we try and how much we care, the misery of poverty is almost impossible to solve. So, by looking at it, we also make ourselves vulnerable to hopelessness.
Photo by Luke Ellis Craven on Unsplash.
That’s why we need the softer light of hope, which helps us see through the disappointing contrasts and shows us a path that is slow but steady–a path that does haunt with guilt, but calls to sustainable generosity.
Sustainable generosity is more than just giving. More than just handing out the extra piece of bread, or old piece of clothing.
Sustainable generosity empowers. It walks beside, but also strengthens the freedom in those who have little.
It strives to teach, aside from feed.
It awakens, in those who ask for help, the desire to create, to be enterprising, to build a better future for themselves and their children.
Sustainable generosity is built on solidarity, yes. But more than this, it believes that the human being, regardless of class, can learn and climb on his own. In fact, he must learn to climb on his own because it’s the only path to fully flourish and thrive.