Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In my Poverty, There is Wealth Aplenty

As the blizzard was doing its worst outside on this freezing wintery day I was sitting at the kitchen table keeping warm from the heat that the ol' wood stove that grandma had going as she was baking some of her delicious breads and pastries. Snuggles, the family cat was lying in my lap just a purrin away as he usually does when content. Not wishing to bother her I sat there quietly just scribbling down some thoughts that were flying through my head.

“Its the consequences of life that leads me down the road to humility.”

“It is the rewards of life that lead me down the road to arrogance.”

“As an individual what I seek in life must come from others. That, I cannot command of them.”

“What I seek for others must come from me. That, I can command of myself but dare not demand it of any one else when I fall short.”

“The soul be my Master, the body be its slave.”

“Life without suffering is death without dying.”

As I looked over the words I wrote down my thoughts began to roam and as they usually do my thoughts brought up a question that seemed to be unanswerable to me. It was a question that my mind has brought up to me many times before. It was a question that some seem to think that if we were to eliminate it would be the solution to all the problems of this world. With this question in mind I looked up and over to grandma as she was just taking out a pan of bread from the oven and putting it on the table to cool down.

“Grandma, why are some people poor?”

Grandma just looked at me with a surprised expression on her face as she wiped her hands on the apron she was wearing. Then with a smile on her face as she sat down across from me she said;

“Now, boy, that is some question you asked right out of the blue. Where did that come from on a day like this? The answer to the question itself is a simple answer but to understand the answer requires a complicated response. The reason being is that people define it in many ways and it depends upon the person seeking to find the answer to give his definition of it.

Poverty, boy, is just viewing life from a basis of what people lack instead of what they possess. There are many who look upon us as being nothing but po' folks. In order to do so though they need to use a criteria of poverty that your grandfather would turn his back on in disgust and contempt. There are others who would look upon us as being among the rich. In order to do this they must use a criteria of what they see others are lacking and that we have in abundance and your grandfather would turn his back on it in sadness and pity.

Boy, when you think of poverty remember this. There once was a wealthy king who when traveling one day saw a beggar sitting on the side of the road. His comment to his fellow travelers was this.

' There, for each of you to see, is the wealthiest man in my kingdom for he commands a wealth that no man can deny him of. And whenever I think of this man and his wealth I know only envy for it is a wealth that I can never possess. What I possess pales in the light of what he possesses.'

With these words said she got up from the table with this departing remark.

“The answer to your question is within you, boy but it must come from you not from me or your grandfather to answer for you.”

i just smiled as i stuck my tongue out at her then just said, "yes, grandma."


BB-Idaho said...

Well, Griper, there is nothing wrong with poverty, but the wealthy
King admiring it makes one
think of those 'vows of poverty' that some religions propound..indeed,
vows of celibacy seem to fit that paradigm as well.
Some of us sinner/ingrates
avoid both poverty & celibacy, though we be not kings! :)

The Griper said...

you're still thinking in terms of poverty, BB, not wealth.

those vows you are thinking of are seen as a sacrifice not wealth.

BB-Idaho said...

I have to go along with the
dictionary..poverty and wealth are antonyms... Opposites. If vows of poverty are sacrifice, then
'something' is being given up. The wealthy King is free to give up his wealth, power and position,
if he thinks being a beggar is better in terms of 'wealth'. But it seems
few, very few, would seek
the 'wealth' of poverty.
An example, I guess, would be the 3rd Century Christian hermit monk movement in the caves of the Egytian desert where:
"Anthony and other hermits attracted many followers, who lived alone in the desert or in small groups. They chose a life of extreme asceticism, renouncing all the pleasures of the senses, rich food, baths, rest, and anything that made them comfortable."
..whether they were 'wealthy' depends on the perception of the viewer.

tweetey30 said...

I have always been told you are as rich as you feel but this is right. You may look at someone else and see how much money they have, how big there house is compared to yours or someone elses.. It goes on and on and on. its sad when you think about it. But if you have home big enough for you and you can work you are a rich person. A poor person can be rich in his/her own way too. Just not with as much material possession.

The Griper said...

yes, wealth and poverty are antonyms, BB. but what is the wealth of poverty if you insist on using that word?

what is it that the beggar possesses that would instill envy in the king?

you're a scientist, think outside of the box.

don't get caught up in someone else's idea of poverty and wealth.

The Griper said...

he just smiles at Tweety then nods.

BB-Idaho said...

"what is it that the beggar possesses that would instill envy in the king?" Sorry, I thought
'outside the box', but I have no idea. As I observed above, if the King
is envious, he can give up his Kingdom, wealth and power and become a beggar(when scientists think outside the box, they are still constrained by logic, so are apparently limited. Thus I need help, and you need to clarify your assertion)
..and convince me to trade
my simple lifestyle for an even simpler (albeit starving) one.

The Griper said...

alright, BB, take a look around you. do you possess anything that you wouldn't give up even if it meant thay you'd have to live in a state of being poor in order to keep it?

is there something in your life that you possess that you wouldn't trade places with Bill Gates for?

is there something in life that you would give up all that you possess in order to possess it?

what is it that you value above everything else?

what do you have that you wouldn't give up for anything in the world? there is no way you'd sell it nor is there any amount of money that could buy it?

what is it that you'd like to be remembered for by others when you pass away? the money you leave them or is there something of greater value that you'd like to think you will pass along to them?

look at the words of Tweety, and understand what she is thinking of.

like grandma said, the answer is within you, i can't give you the answer.

wealth is measured in many ways, not just by the amount of money a person has.

as for me i am a wealthier man just because i have you as a very good friend. and i place a great value on that friendship.

The Griper said...

is there something that you'd sacrifice your very life for so that a complete stranger might have the opportunity to have like every soldier must be willing to do?

i could ask any number of questions like this until you finally would have to give me the answer yes. and once you do then you will have defined wealth for yourself.

Lista said...

A Person can have a Friend (Wealth) and an Enemy (Poverty); Someone who Likes Him (Wealth) and Someone who Hates him (Poverty). To Be Oblivious to the Poverty, though; why it has Occurred and what Part One has Played in the Result, is a Form of Poverty as well, for this is the Result of Poverty of Character and that is the Worst form of Poverty there is, for Poverty of Character can Never Continue for Long without Consequence.

TAO said...


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