This I Believe

Erika - St. Paul, Minnesota
Entered on September 6, 2007

I believe the world is poor-and not in the ways most would view poverty (stripped of all the basic necessities, or lacking enough resources to make ends meet), but instead this is the core of poverty where it seeks destruction, shames the confident, and is too overwhelming to overcome. This poverty is loneliness. I believe that there are a vast number of people hungry for far more than just bread alone, but for companionship and a desire for others to connect and understand their heart. This poverty begins destroying the emotional part of a person and has enough strength to actually harm the physical.

It is astounding to me the numbers of people who spend their days in isolation with technological ‘toys’ to satisfy their needs: computers, Ipods, MP3 players-the world is being shut off around them. There is no physical touch anymore for fear that it will be taken in offense, and more rules and regulations have created separate offices and eight-foot cubicles enclosing employees in for the day. Neighborhood doors are locked with little or no contact with the world around them. Families are no longer families, but simply roommates who live together under one roof. No sharing of emotions, no connection, no acceptance for mistakes, no interaction, and no richness of friendship. Yes, the world is poor.

Our minds are busy scheduling our next activity just long enough to pencil in a five minute conversation with a childhood friend, but not long enough to recognize the hurt and the pain in that friend’s eyes. Our ‘to do’ lists include everything under the sun except quality fellowship with people around us or a chance to meet someone new.

Elders are slipping away from us in nursing homes as family members have little or no time to care for them anymore, and they are finally missed only after we have said our final goodbyes.

I believe that a generation of children, experience this loneliness as they come home from school to an empty house with parents at work and no one to ask them about their day.

I believe that loneliness has gotten to the point where people are actually paying someone to sit and listen to their problems, their wounds, their hurts. There is no such thing as being able to have a “free sharing session.” Yes, the world is poor.

This poverty is greater than the material, because the heart no longer feels the purpose behind its function. People feel alone, empty, hopeless, and selfish for wanting someone to be their companion. There is no longer, I believe, any authenticity between friends anymore and the struggles they face. Instead, we base our conversations off of surface material: latest news, election, games, weather, and most of all our, “Hello, how are you?” becomes more like a conditioned greeting with a response that almost always ends in, “good.” Yes, the world is poor.

People believe poverty exists strictly within the people with no home or no income. But even the wealthiest person admits to be lacking something; life is still difficult and there is poverty within the heart that makes all those riches worthless. Yes then, I believe, the world is poor.