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I came across a link to a group of photos that were all extremely touching. This one above all moved me deeply. It just feels like it is so representative of the current state of the world on so many different levels.

I believe the photo was taken during the Turkish genocide and the gentleman in the suit was taunting those starving people. I was having trouble understanding how someone could see those people in such dire need of sustenance and still be able to dangle food so callously in front of them. I mean it seems like the one child couldn’t even sit up to reach out, he was so weak.

Sorrow, Anger, and Disgust are the three emotions that come to mind when I look at this. But then it clicked that in a lot of ways, our world is just as callous.

My first thought was to America as it is my home. It feels like there is a small group that hold so much power. Their power should be channeled to helping raise everyone up so we all can rejoice in the beauty of life. Instead power is jealously guarded and used to put the downtrodden even further down. Why is it that the war on poverty is never fixed? Why is the education problem never addressed in a serious manner? These problems that never seem to go away, persist for a reason. Without them there is no need for someone to fix them. Who is truly benefiting? Certainly not the people in need of help.

I skip most meals every day because that is one less meal that I have to buy and one more meal I know I can give to my children. I have applied for governmental assistance, over and over. Turned away because my family is said to make too much. How can I make too much? I can barely afford the basics of life. I’m certainly not spending frivolously because I have nothing to spend. They say you have to lose everything to get governmental assistance. I have nothing and I still cannot get help. How is that possible? How is that the entity who’s sole purpose is to help its constituents can’t help at all? That is their only job and they are failing.

But as I turn my anger on the government, I feel the need to turn my anger on society as a whole. We stand by and we see those suffering. And rather than sharing what we have to help them out, we guard it in case we should come on hard times ourselves. On every level of society. Shame on us. Shame on us all.

You hear every day that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. That is fact and it won’t change until we stand up and say enough is enough. We are all poor because we allow poverty to exist. We are all ignorant because we do not educate across the board. How much great literature have we missed out on because a great mind was never taught to put pen to paper?

I speak about money because it is a current trial I am facing. But this problem isn’t just financial, it’s in our hearts. So many people are hurting out there. And rather than reach out with a warm smile or a helping hand, we stick our heads down and hide behind screens ranting about the injustice of the world. It is unjust because we ourselves are unjust. You can’t fix one without fixing the other.

I am challenging myself to reach out. I will smile and talk to whoever I can about whatever they want to talk about. I will offer the only thing I truly have, love, to whoever is in need of it. I hope I can change the world but I will settle for changing the lives of those who need it.

2015 Update:

Written: 12/22/2013

Excerpt: Those without are in desperate need of something. It is time to look inward at what each of us have to offer, in our own right, and use that right to share equally, give freely, and help unconditionally. Take the time to help those who cannot help themselves by giving that which you don’t have time to take care of yourself and keeping anything you don’t care to give away without condition. For those in need, it is time to be honest in our necessities and transparent in our poverty so others might truly see how bleak life is for some.

Thoughts: I consider myself to have taken a vow of poverty. To the world at large that means that I place absolutely no value on the concept of “money” as it currently stands. I place my value on life based on the things that are of worth to me and hold appeal to either my mind, heart, or soul. Anything less can be bought with cold hard cash and can be discarded just as easily, for when no work or effort or thought is put towards “the thing” acquired, no true value of worth is assigned to it. For me, that is a deal breaker. I am tired of having to care for and love things that people didn’t even care enough to think about meaningfully when they were presented to me. In my mind a present is only considered a gift when actual consideration has been taken for how this “thing” will affect my life. Anything less and I feel as though I am being handed another piece of crap to try to fit into the rest of the pieces of crap I have acquired in my lifetime but am far too sentimental to ever part with. This results in a vague shadow of resentment lingering over the “gift” because I must first do actual work to make it worth being a part of my life. And at that point I ask myself, “Why did they even bother giving me something I didn’t ask for, didn’t need, didn’t want, and don’t want to have to take care of?” And for that I never have an answer. And so rather than carry around metaphorical garbage, I immediately dispose of anything that has no use, assign a position for anything of benefit, and leave lay anything that has potential for helping me in the future (should I remember I have it). This way, no matter what is around me, it is never harmful, easily accessible, always helpful, and acceptably accommodating. It leaves me with a better sense of what I need, what I have, and what I am free to share with those in need (quickly, easily, painlessly).

Hope: Being down and out is a hard position to be in. Being so far down that you are willing to accept whatever meager scraps people through your way is even harder. It is my hope that no one else needs to fall further than “down and out” because I also hope society will come together and build a community safety net to catch everyone who is unable to catch themselves, pick themselves back up, or dust themselves off afterwards.

Moral: Some people have more to give and so they should give a whole lot more. Some people have nothing to give but a whole lot to offer and so these should share what they have. Some people have nothing to give and nothing to offer and so they should be able to share freely with those having more until everyone has their share and is given their fill of that which everyone needs equally.